Global Legal Protection Barometer
Per country, the Barometer research identifies groups that are at risk of remaining legally unprotected. For these groups a Legal Protection Platform is developed, providing needed legal information and linking them to affordable legal services to solve their problems and to be legally protected.
We look into the capacity of ‘people’ to arrange legal 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 organisation’: the procedures and institutions needed to achieve legal 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?
the legal assistance services by legal professionals: how can I find a lawyer, what is the price, quality?
The Barometer shows a scan of the system through the eyes of the population at large in their civil and administrative law related issues, where the main questions are: what solutions are available, what is the procedure, steps, duration, and costs, 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?”
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.
Legally unprotected groups identified
Through our 25 years 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 has only enough income for the average monthly consumer basket. Due to lack of resources these people cannot afford a lawyer and fail to arrange their legal protection. Thus, we do not only talk about vulnerable groups 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.
Microjustice has developed the barometer research methodology, with a 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 analysed by international Microjustice experts.
The ultimate goal is to create a Global comparative Barometer based on research in all countries of the world, which would allow easy comparative presentation of all systems, comparison of collected data and creating a global picture of Universal access to legal protection.
Agenda for action – Outputs
The output of the barometer is multiple in order to achieve Universal Access to Legal Protection:
Global comparative Barometer –
Recommendations of best practices - through an extensive database in which the best practices and solutions from each researched legal system would be recorded, a comparative legal solution could be created that could be applied and implemented in other countries;
Recommendations to ameliorate the system; - one of the outputs will be also standard recommendations to improve the legal system of the country
Comparative progress; Identifying best practices and recommendations for ameliorating the procedures and institutions will allow for international standard setting and exchange within the SDG 16 context, providing ‘legal protection’ level as civil justice indicator for SDG 16.3.
Liberalization of the legal profession through proposing the level of liberation of the lawyers’ market as a civil justice indicator in SDG 16.3 to measure ‘equal access to justice for all’ to ensure the affordability and quality of the legal services. Through lowering the prices and linking people to a lawyer, the market of clients for lawyers is broadened. The new segment of people with a lower income and vulnerable groups will now find their way to a lawyer.
Legal Protection Platform defined and adapted for specific Country: involving all stakeholders and possibly will be developed as basis for the Legal Aid Program(s) of the Government.