Legal Aid, Accessible Courts or Legal Information? Three Access to Justice Strategies Compared

Maurits Barendrecht
March 2011
Global Jurist;Mar2011, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p1374
Academic Journal
Access to justice can be enhanced in many ways. What is the most effective way to do this, given limited resources? Three perspectives are used to compare access to justice policies: (1) costs and benefits, (2) transaction costs (diminishing market failure and government failure), and (3) legal empowerment (enhancing people's control over their lives and their bargaining position). The analysis suggests that legal information and education strategies should have a higher priority, followed by improving access to (informal) adjudication. Civil legal aid on an individual basis is a rather costly strategy. Moreover, legal aid is less likely to create just outcomes on its own: a judge without a lawyer is more valuable than a lawyer without a judge.


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