International Forum to Explore Challenges and New Developments in Access to Civil Justice

The International Access to Justice Forum 2023, jointly organized by the University of California Irvine (UCI) Law Initiative for Inclusive Civil Justice and Victoria Law Foundation, will take place from October 11-13, 2023 at UCI Law. The international conference aims to bring together scholars, researchers, practitioners, and court and dispute resolution experts to share insights on new developments and discuss ongoing challenges in access to civil justice. Organizers invite presentations on a range of topics based in civil justice.  The deadline to submit proposals is May 31, 2023. Register for the International Access to Justice Forum by June 30, 2023.

For more information, or to submit a proposal, please visit:

New Book Offers Insights on Access to Justice across Rural Areas Globally

A newly published book explores access to justice in rural areas in internationally comparable contexts.  Access to Justice in Rural Communities: Global Perspectives edited by Daniel Newman and Faith Gordon highlights diverse social, geographic and cultural issues affecting how rural communities experience the justice system, how these experiences might differ from those of urban areas, and impacts of policy changes on access to justice in rural areas.

Access to Justice in Rural Communities: Global Perspectives includes the following chapters:

Foreword, Russell Hogg (University of New South Wales, Australia)

1. Rural Access to Justice, Daniel Newman (Cardiff University, UK) and Faith Gordon (The Australian National University, Australia)

2. A Survey of Policy Responses to the Rural Attorney Shortage in the United States, Kelly V Beskin (University of California, USA) and Lisa R Pruitt (University of California, USA)

3. Alcohol Laws, Rural Communities and Access to Justice in Kenya, Joseph K Rono (Moi University, Kenya) and Emmanuel K Bunei (University of New England, Australia)

4. Accessibility to Justice for Rural Livestock Farmers in Selected Provinces of South Africa: Rural Communities and the Justice System, Witness Maluleke (Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa)

5. Why Doesn’t a Mother Whose Son was Murdered Seek Justice? A Critical Approach to the Relationship between Socio-Cultural Structure and Access to Justice in Rural Communities by Reconstructing the Sabahattin Ali’s Kagni (The Oxcart) Short Story, Murat Madenüs (Turkish General Command of Gendarmerie, Turkey)

6. Rethinking Access to Justice for Indigenous Peoples, Fiona Allison (James Cook University, Australia) and Chris Cunneen (University of Technology Sydney, Australia)

7. Barriers to Access to Justice for Members of the Traveller Community: Rediscrimination within the Equality System, Fiona Donson (University College Cork, Ireland) and Samantha Morgan-Williams (University College Cork, Ireland)

8. Older Victims, Legal Need and Access to Justice in Rural Communities in Northern Ireland, Faith Gordon (The Australian National university, Australia) and Kevin J Brown (Queen’s University Belfast, UK)

9. Litigants in Person and Rural Family Justice in England and Wales, Jess Mant (Monash University, Australia)

10. Overcoming Geographic Barriers: Towards a Framework for Facilitating Legal Service Delivery in Rural Communities in Canada, Lisa Moore (Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, Canada)

11. Conceptualising Rural Access to Justice as Supply Chains Primed for Transformation, Amanda L Kool (Sharebite, USA) and Hannah Haksgaard (University of South Dakota, USA)

12. ‘Restorative What?’ Young People’s Experiences of Accessing Justice in Rural Syria, Adnan Mouhiddin (Coventry University, UK)

13. A Retrospective on Rural Legal Service Provision: Lessons Emerging from International Research, Kim Economides (University of Southern Queensland, Australia) and Charles Watkins (University of Nottingham, UK)

14. Access to Rural Justice: Domestic Violence in Rural America, Ziwei Qi (Fort Hays State University, USA) and Christy Craig (Fort Hays State University, USA)

15. Rural Access to Justice and Beyond: Dimensions of Access as a Criterion for Understanding Lay Users’ Satisfaction with Remote Justice, Olumide Adisa (University of Suffolk, UK), Sue James (Cardiff University, UK) and Daniel Newman (Cardiff University, UK)

Afterword, Michele Statz (University of Minnesota, USA)

Access to Justice in Rural Communities: Global Perspectives was published by Hart Publishing. Additional information is available here:

(Information for this post was gleaned from:

New Research Collection Explores Costs and Benefits of Community-Based Justice

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) has announced the publication of a series of reports and other research publications that examine the costs and benefits of community-based justice initiatives globally. The research stems from a collaborative, multi-country, multi-year study with research teams at the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice in Canada, the Centre for Community Justice and Development in South Africa, the Centre for Alternative Policy Research and Innovation in Sierra Leone, and the Katiba Institute in Kenya.

The main objectives of the Community-Based Justice Research (CBJR) project were:

(1)          Identify and assess the costs to justice seekers and providers of locally accessible justice services relative to the outcomes of these justice services; and,

(2)          Based on research insights, explore the potential to better support and scale community-based justice programs for broader impacts.

The project has resulted in a rich collection of reports, papers, blogs and other resources, including:

View the full CBJR research collection on the CFCJ website here:

The Community-Based Justice Research project was funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

New Report Includes more than 40 Recommendations for Improving Access to Justice for Separating Families in England and Wales

JUSTICE, a reform and human rights organisation in the UK working to improve the justice system, has published a new report on Improving Access to Justice for Separating Families. While the report notes that there are serious access to justice challenges being experienced by families accessing the justice system, the focus of the report is on private family disputes in England and Wales involving children. The report applies an ‘access to justice’ lens to examine the rights of children and families and makes 43 recommendations related to child arrangements problems and their resolution in England and Wales. The key principles that guided this work by the JUSTICE organisation are:

i) The rule of law requires access to forms of dispute resolution – including access to the court system.
ii) The family justice system must be designed around the needs of families, not the expertise of legal professionals; and
iii) The child’s perspective must be at the heart of every stage of dispute resolution in the family justice system.

Improving Access to Justice for Separating Families, A Report by JUSTICE is available online here:

Study on the Costs and Benefits of Community-Based Justice in Sierra Leone Makes Important Recommendations for Scaling Up Community Justice Services

On average, it costs users of local, paralegal services in Sierra Leone US $8.44 to access the service, far below what it costs to access the formal justice system. According to a new report on the Costs and Benefits of Community-Based Justice in Sierra Leone, without these community-based justice services, the government would spend approximately US $23.3M to support access to justice services through the formal justice system. This compares with approximately US $18.3M to access community-based justice services. This is among several important findings from a first-of-its-kind study by the Center for Alternative Policy Research & Innovation on The Costs and Benefits of Community-Based Justice in Sierra Leone.

The report makes 10 recommendations for scaling up paralegal-based justice services, including:

  • Establishing a National Legal Empowerment Fund;
  • Funding exploratory research;
  • Further reducing out-of-pocket costs to access community-based justice services;
  • Meaningfully integrating community-based justice services in the broader justice sector; and
  • Building robust and efficient monitoring and evaluation systems.

The Costs and Benefits of Community-Based Justice in Sierra Leone by Felix Marco Conteh, Yakama Manty Jones, Sonkita Conteh, Henry Mbawa and Aisha Fofana Ibrahim (CAPRI) is available online here:

This project was funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and is one of the final research outputs from a multi-country research initiative on Community-Based Justice Research.

Legal Services Corporation Publishes 2022 Justice Gap Report

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has published new insights on unmet legal needs among low-income earners in the U.S. “The Justice Gap: The Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-income Americans”, published in April 2022 is the fourth comprehensive report by the LSC examining the civil legal needs and access to justice challenges of low-income earners in the U.S. The report includes data from a survey of 5,000 households, which reveals that 92% of low-income earners in the U.S. did not receive any or adequate legal help to address their civil legal problems. This compares with 86% of low-income earners who did not receive any or enough help for civil legal problems in the 2017 Justice Gap report. The report also includes insights related to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the legal needs and experiences of Americans.

The Justice Gap: The Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-income Americans is published on the LSC website here:

International Group Publishes Policy Paper on Access to Justice for Women and the Rule of Law

A new policy paper by The Elders outlines frameworks and tools for all nation states to respect and proposes measures for governments, civil society, and the legal community to adopt to ensure that “access to justice and the rule of law form the bedrock of the post-pandemic recovery.”

“Access to Justice for Women and the Rule of Law” examines the impacts that the ongoing global health crisis has had on access to justice for women, including as relates to increased risks of intimate partner violence and difficulties accessing support services. The paper takes turns discussing each of three main barriers women face in seeking access to justice: discriminatory laws, discrimination in the application of laws, and complex and inaccessible justice systems. Recommendations for a way forward include:

  • A holistic, long-term, and collaborative approach to understanding women’s justice needs
  • Repealing discriminatory laws and enacting legislation that better protects women
  • Improving data collection and analysis to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the scale of the justice gap as it affects women
  • Efforts by the legal community to increase the number of women in senior positions within the justice system
  • Measures to ensure that services for women are accessible and empowering and reflect a people-centred approach to justice

To read “Access to Justice for Women and the Rule of Law”, visit:

Hague Institute for Innovation of Law Publishes Report Examining Connection Between Access to Justice and Poverty

HiiL –the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law— has published findings from a new study that examines the relationship between access to justice and poverty. The recently published “Poverty and Access to Justice” 2021 report includes research carried out across 13 countries with responses from more than 70,000 people. Findings suggest that the relationship between poverty and access to justice is “non-linear” as well as “complex and nuanced”. People who are considered to be poor and the non-poor alike both experience significant problems accessing justice. Notwithstanding, there are more readily discernible differences in the types of legal problems that the poor and non-poor experience, with poor populations generally seeing greater incidents of land rights, family, debt, and social welfare problems. By comparison, the non-poor experience higher rates of employment, personal injury and criminal problems and problems with neighbours.

Learn more about the Poverty and Access to Justice Report by Dr. Martin Gramatikov, Rupinder Kaur, Isabella Banks, and Dr. Kavita Heijstek-Ziemann and published by the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law here:

Read the report in full here:

World Justice Project 2021 Index Shows Decline in Rule of Law Around the World

The World Justice Project (WJP) has published the 2021 Rule of Law Index. The WJP Rule of Law Index offers original data on the rule of law as experienced and understood around the world. This latest Rule of Law Index covers 139 countries and jurisdictions (including 11 new countries and the entire European Union), and includes data from national surveys from over 138,000 households and 4,200 legal practitioners and experts.

A global press release by the World Justice Project offers the following highlights from this year’s publication:
• Over 80% of the world’s population “live in a country where rule of law is weakening”; and,
• The areas showing the most significant declines from the global surveys relate to the timeliness of justice, absence of discrimination, constraints on government powers, and civic space.

The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2021 is available here:

Recent OECD Report Examines Regulatory Quality and Governance Globally

For a third year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published a Regulatory Policy Outlook which provides details on how countries “approach the design, enforcement and revision of regulations, and suggests where countries can best focus their efforts to ensure that laws and regulations work as intended.” The report offers additional insights on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and what the global health crisis has revealed about the importance of rule-making to save lives and money. The OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2021 also includes a series of recommendations and explores strategies such as regulatory sandboxes and regulations guided by empirical research insights which can facilitate more innovative and efficient rule-making.

An overview of the 2021 OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook is available here: Read the Executive Summary here: