Equal access to justice is an inalienable human right. It is “an essential component of the system of protection and enforcement of human rights”. However, access to justice has different meanings. It may be defined narrowly, to signify an individual’s right to bring a claim to a court or tribunal and to have that court or tribunal decide the claim. It could also refer to the right to be given legal aid when the individual does not have the resources required to avail of legal remedies. In a broad sense, access to justice also includes, as a critical element, the individual’s right to have her claim decided according to substantive standards of fairness and justice.
In international human rights instruments, access to justice as a term of art is not used. Nonetheless, the right of access to justice is clearly guaranteed. In Article 8, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights … [....]