Access to Justice and Pro Bono
In a democratic society all citizens have a right to access justice and to receive a fair trial. Many people struggle to understand their legal rights and obligations and they may feel helpless when faced with problems. Without legal help they may be unable to resolve these issues. Access to proper representation — a lawyer — for important legal matters is a fundamental right.
If only the wealthy and the powerful have access to the legal system, justice is denied. Our justice system becomes meaningless if there are barriers that prevent people from enforcing their rights. True equality requires that all these barriers – financial, social and cultural – be removed for all individuals.
The legal assistance sector helps people understand their legal obligations and if necessary enforce their legal rights. The work of the legal assistance sector therefore protects people's rights, ensures they get a fair trial and helps them play a fuller role in society. Access to justice is, therefore, an essential tenet of the doctrine of the rule of law.
A number of resources are available that provide further information about Access to Justice, including how to establish schemes and initiatives in your own country.
The World Bank provides resources on ways to improve access to law and justice for disadvantaged individuals.