Improving Access to Justice: Community-based Solutions

DOI10.1177/2322005819855863
Published date01 January 2019
Date01 January 2019
Subject MatterArticles
Article
Improving Access to Justice:
Community-based Solutions
Fatos Selita1,2,3,4
Abstract
Inaccessibility to justice is a major issue internationally, and in some countries access to justice has
decreased in recent years. For example, the growth of inequality and decline of state support have
left access to justice in the UK and the USA in a worst state in decades. There is therefore an urgent
need to find solutions to protect peoples’ rights. This article outlines key issues of access to justice
and identifies a number of solutions from grassroots efforts to organizational changes. The article
highlights the importance of community-based solutions, such as mass pro bono contributions from
individuals, law service providers and other organizations. It also proposes, as a key solution, making
legal professions more representative of societies, and calls for law schools and legal regulators to
take the required steps. Another important contributor to improved access to justice is promotion of
pro bono work by all lawyers and law organizations at their own initiative. The article also discusses
enhancing existing law degrees with additional topics on access to justice, to help students gain an
objective picture of the realities of the legal system, and on individual differences, to benefit from
latest interdisciplinary science. Community-based solutions provide stability even in times of difficult
economic circumstances and political turbulence, and therefore are relevant to all societies.
Introduction
In recent years, in line with the high and raising inequality, access to justice has been at its worst state in
decades in some countries including the UK and the USA. For example, in the UK, most of the population
cannot afford the justice system.5 Studies over extended periods (including prior to the 2013 legal aid
1 Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, UK.
2 Department of Psychology, Tomsk State University (TSU), Lenina Avenue, Tomsk, Russia.
3 Attorney and Counselor at Law, the State of New York.
4
Barrister, England and Wales.
5 Judiciary of England and WalEs, ThE lord chiEf JusTicEs rEporT 2015 33 (2015), https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/
uploads/2016/01/lcj_report_2015-final.pdf
Asian Journal of Legal Education
6(1–2) 83–90, 2019
© 2019 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Reprints and permissions:
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DOI: 10.1177/2322005819855863
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Corresponding author:
Fatos Selita, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK.
E-mail: ftselita@gmail.com

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