Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

Living Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Access to Justice

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7883-6_570-1


Access to justice has both procedural and substantive components. Context matters and a society that views its members as part of a collective, for example, may perceive access to justice differently than a more individualistic society. International law documents ensuring access to justice generally take either a general human rights approach or provide specific protections for disadvantaged populations. Although substantive access to justice appears to have improved over time, procedural access to justice may not have kept pace. Money and time are very real limitations. Physical barriers have a severe impact on persons with disabilities and individuals living in poverty. Institutional barriers also limit access to justice for reasons that include ponderous or bias court systems, discriminatory police conduct, expense, and political interference. Additionally, limited education and social custom impair access to justice. When public trust is lacking, individuals may not rely on justice institutions to settle disputes and resolve problems. Challenges remain concerning which substantive rights we need to protect and what efficient and effective procedures are available.


United Nations Class Action Restorative Justice Legal Representation Alternative Dispute Resolution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Agrast MD (2014) World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2014. Available at http://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/files/wjp_rule_of_law_index_2014_report.pdf
  2. Bloch FS (2008) New directions in clinical legal education: access to justice and the global clinical movement. Wash Univ J Law Policy 28(1):111–139Google Scholar
  3. Carmona MS (2012) Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. U.N. Doc. No. A/HRC/23/36 (11 Mar 2012). Available at http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G13/117/94/PDF/G1311794.pdf?OpenElement
  4. Francioni F (2007) Access to justice as a human right. Oxford University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hodges C (2001) Multi-party actions: a European approach. Duke J Comp Int Law 11(2):321–354Google Scholar
  6. Krieger LH (2003) Backlash against the ADA. University of Michigan Press, Ann ArborGoogle Scholar
  7. McEwen C (2014) Determining whether to initiate a mediation program and how its structure affects results – costs for parties, 1 Mediation: Law, Policy and Practice § 14:5, Cole S, McEwen C, Rogers N, Coben J, Thompson P, Thomson ReutersGoogle Scholar
  8. Ogletree CJ Jr, Sapir Y (2004) Keeping Gideon’s promise: a comparison of the American and Israeli public defender experiences. N Y Univ Rev Law Soc Change 29(2):203–235Google Scholar
  9. Ortoleva S (2011) Inaccessible justice. ILSA J Int Comp Law 17(2):281–320Google Scholar
  10. Turquet L et al (2015) Progress of the world’s women: in pursuit of justice. U.N. Women. Available at http://progress.unwomen.org/pdfs/EN-Report-Progress.pdf
  11. Watson GD (2001) Class actions: the Canadian experience. Duke J Comp Int Law 11(2):269–288Google Scholar

Further Readings

  1. Friedman LM (2009) Access to justice: some historical comments. Fordham Urban Law J 37(1):3–15Google Scholar
  2. Johnson E (1985) The right to counsel in civil cases: an international perspective. Loyola Law Rev 19(2):341–436Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hamline University School of LawSaint PaulUSA