Access to Justice
in: Elgar Encyclopedia of Human Rights, edited by Christina Binder, Manfred Nowak, Jane A Hofbauer and Philipp Janig – 2022 Forthcoming
19 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2021 Last revised: 23 Aug 2021
Date Written: July 29, 2021
This encyclopedia entry offers an overview of access to justice in the field of human rights.
While the concept of access to justice is difficult to grasp, the entry identifies two primary ways in which it intersects with human rights: On the one hand, access to justice relates to the vindication and enforcement of human rights and, in this sense, functions as a pre-requisite for effective human rights protection. On the other hand, human rights also provide (external) standards as to how access to justice is to be guaranteed in domestic legal systems when it comes to legal disputes arising under domestic law.
The entry traces these two dimensions and uses them as a framework to sketch out what one may loosely call ‘access to justice rights’. It closes by pointing to trends and challenges that inter alia arise from an understanding of access to justice that is predominantly legalized, individual-oriented and state-centred.
Keywords: Human Rights, Accountability for Human Rights Violations, Right to an Effective Remedy, Right to Fair Trial, Legal Aid, Domestic Legal Systems
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