The Barometer research shows a scan of the system through the eyes of the population at large in 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?”
For these groups at risk identified a Digital Legal Aid Platform (here we should put link leading to LAP part and explanation) 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 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:
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 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 rights’ 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 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 analysed by international Microjustice experts.
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.
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 country systems, comparison of collected data and creating a global picture of Universal access to legal rights’ protection.
The output of the Barometer research is multiple in order to achieve Universal Access to Legal Rights’ Protection:
Since 2018 Microjustice has developed the Legal Rights’ Protection Barometer in Civil Justice (not including criminal 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 the three agents of legal protection:
If a person is poor, uneducated, and belongs to a group at risk, it is likely that (s)he will be legally excluded if the state services, institutions and the judiciary are not easily accessible, and legal assistance is out of reach. The table below illustrates the key elements that are scanned on both a country-wide and the unprotected groups’ level in order to provide recommendations on making the legal system more easily accessible and to provide the needed legal assistance services to include the excluded part of the population.
Legal Rights’ Protection Indicator Framework, with three sets of Indicators
Indicators on country level = Barometer
Identification of legally unprotected groups, their legal issues and needs for legal assistance
Working Three parts of SDG 16
Groups at risk:
Description of the vulnerability of the specific excluded group
Peaceful and Inclusive Societies for Sustainable Development
State: affordability & accessibility of procedures and institutions
Legal and Institutional Framework applied to the specific group, and research into the legal tools available to their legal protection
Effective, accountable and inclusive institutions on all levels
Legal Profession: legal assistance services
Affordability, accessibility and quality of legal assistance
Legal assistance available for vulnerable groups
Access to Justice for All
This allows for international standard setting and exchange of best practices;
For SDG 16 - In civil & administrative justice:
Identification, development and implementation of indicators:
The Barometer provides a tool to track and monitor progress on the elements of SDG 16 per country, scanning the legal-administrative organization of a country to see how effective it is in providing people with legal rights’ protection. It also outlines the accessibility and affordability of legal assistance providers. Finally, it will show what groups in the countries are vulnerable and lack the resources to be legally protected, given the accessibility of state system/institutions and of legal assistance services.