NEW YORK (20 October 2023) – People-centred justice could offer transformative solutions to ensure meaningful access to justice for all, a UN expert said today. She called for an approach known as legal empowerment to support communities to know and use the law.
“When we equip communities with the tools to shape and transform unfair and harmful laws, we help democratise legal systems,” said Margaret Satterthwaite, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers. “Tinkering around the edges or doubling down on doing things the way we always have will not ensure access to justice for all,” she said.
In her first report to the General Assembly, Satterthwaite outlined the opportunities offered by legal empowerment and concrete steps for its implementation. She also described the extent to which justice systems are failing to meet people’s needs.
“An estimated 5.1 billion people—two-thirds of the world’s population— lack access to justice for everyday problems, are excluded from opportunities provided by the law and/or live in extreme conditions of injustice,” the expert said.