The access to justice gap

The access to justice gap 10 April 2012

Research demonstrates that when people have legal problems they do not rush to see lawyers or file lawsuits. In our recently published Trend Report 'Towards Basic Justice Care for Everyone: Challenges and Promising Approaches 2012' it is estimated that there are between 200 and 400 serious and difficult-to-solve problems a year per 1 million adults, but only about 15 of these problems will ever reach a court room or other adjudication institution.

At the same time, every study finds that there is a formidable group of people who report an experience with a legal problem but did nothing to solve it. A recent study from Ukraine, for instance, reports that 41% of the respondents did not take any action to solve serious and impactful legal problems. Shame, embarrassment, perceived and experienced costs, disbelief that something can be done as well as perceptions that the problem is not that serious are the most frequently cited reasons for remaining passive. Even if people do take steps to solve disputes and grievances they do not always reach a fair outcome.

There is no systematic research on the epidemiology of legal problems yet, but the studies that have been conducted in over 30 countries suggest that in many countries only around 50% of problems are solved in a satisfactory way, whereas 75% is possible.

Read more on Access to Justice Gap
Executive Summary and full Trend Report available here