Legal Rights’ Protection Barometer
The Barometer research shows a scan of the system through the eyes of the population of their civil and administrative law-related issues.
Per country, the research identifies groups that are at risk of remaining legally unprotected. The main questions are: what solutions are available, what is the procedure, and can a lawyer help for an affordable price?
With other words: “How easily can I be legally protected, and enforce my belongings, claims, and rights?”
The overall aim is to promote universal access to legal rights’ protection by making the state of legal rights’ protection transparent and visible, which will dictate the needed action to pursue legal rights’ protection of all.
Microjustice has developed the Legal Rights’ Protection Barometer research methodology, with a modern online database with standard questions related to the 3 indicator groups, generating an objective technical outcome. The database is filled out by legal experts in the country and is subsequently analyzed by international Microjustice experts.
We look into the capacity of ‘people’ to arrange their legal rights’ protection, which depends on their financial capacity (income) and capacity to access information (education level and effective internet access), while we also assess the various legal needs of specific vulnerable groups, such as populations displaced by humanitarian disaster.
Subsequently, the Barometer provides an overview from the perspective of these people of the affordability, accessibility, and effectiveness of:
- The ‘state organization’: the procedures and institutions needed to achieve legal rights’ protection, such as civil registry, property registry, business registry, divorce procedure, inheritance procedure; what are the steps, costs, accessibility? What effective enforcement procedures are available? and
- The legal assistance services by legal professionals: how can I find a lawyer, what is the price, quality?
With these three groups of indicators related to 1) capacity of People 2) effectiveness of procedures of the State 3) affordability of legal assistance, we can identify which groups are legally unprotected and what is needed to protect them.
Through our 25 years of field experience in legal service provision in many countries globally, we have recognized a similar pattern in any country: there is an organized system of free legal aid (which usually does not work well or does not work at all), limited only to small groups of the most vulnerable people and a narrow number of specific cases, from which a large number of citizens is left out.
Those citizens are not only vulnerable people such as refugees but in most countries make up the majority of people who ‘makes end meet’ and have only enough income for the average monthly consumer basket. Due to a lack of resources, these people cannot afford a lawyer and fail to arrange their legal rights’ protection. Thus, we do not only talk about vulnerable groups such as displaced populations and refugees who remain legally unprotected but also in many countries, a large percentage of the population, that has just enough income to make it until the end of the month.
Since 2018 Microjustice has developed the Legal Rights’ Protection Barometer in Civil Justice and related research method.
We first had to see on what factors it depends whether people are legally protected or not. This actually depends on the relationship between ‘people’ with the ‘state institutions ‘of the country where they live and the ability to get quality affordable legal assistance. Regarding this, three sets of legal rights’ protection indicators have been developed, related to the three agents of legal rights’ protection:
- the ability of ‘people’ to access and protect their rights;
- the way the ‘State’ has organized the procedures for legal rights’ protection and enforcement mechanisms; and
- the accessibility, affordability, and quality of ‘legal assistance’.