Learn with Lena: On Access to Justice

Access to Justice

Welcome to this week’s blog post from Learn with Lena. Lena is the RWI librarian who once every other week shares book tips on topics related to human rights! This month we are focusing on the thematic area of Access to Justice.

The recommended books can all be found and borrowed at the Raoul Wallenberg Library.  

Access to justice – what does it means?

Access to justice is a basic principle of the rule of law. In the absence of access to justice, people are unable to have their voices heard, exercise their rights, challenge discrimination or hold decision-makers accountable.

What are the obstacles in accessing justice?

One of the major obstacles in accessing justice, is the cost of legal advice and representation. Legal aid programmes are a central component of strategies to enhance access to justice.

Where to start learning more?

I can recommend two websites:
The web page by the United Nations. It is informative and explains the basic principles of rule of law. Access of justice is included in the notion ‘Rule of Law’.

Access to Justice: It states that “In the absence of access to justice, people are unable to have their voice heard, exercise their rights, challenge discrimination, or hold decision-makers accountable.”

The website Access to Justice by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute covers most of what we need to know, to be able to continue reading and to dig deeper into the rights to remedies and court systems.

Some selected books about Access to Justice.

International human rights law

Rhona K.M. Smith. –  2021 – ISBN: 9780192845382

In most of the books about international human rights law, ‘access to justice’ is included.
For example Rhona Smith’s book International Human Rights Law and the chapter: Equality before the law – the right to a fair trial, gives a good background – from the United Declaration of Human Rights (UNHR) to independent and impartial courts.


From Rights to Remedies: Structures and Strategies for Implementing International Human Rights Decisions

2013 –  ISBN: 1936133830

This report explores the challenges involved in ensuring that states live up to their legal obligations by examining how international human rights decisions and recommendations are implemented at the national level. It analyzes the strategies and structures—within the executive branch, legislatures, and domestic courts—that can either promote or thwart implementation. It also looks at the special role that national human rights institutions have
By combining analysis with recommendations, model laws, and case studies that span the European, Inter-American, and African systems, as well as the UN treaty bodies, From Rights to Remedies offers both a political and legal roadmap to more effective domestic implementation.

Access to Justice in Iran – women, perceptions and reality

by Sahar Maranlou – 2014 – ISBN: 9781139680493

What a timely book! The demonstrations with the slogan ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ is continuing.

From the publisher:

This book offers a critical analysis of access to justice from international / Islamic perspectives to highlight various aspects of access to justice previously not discussed in the body of literature in the context of Iran. It provides a detailed picture of the workings of the Iranian legal system, together with a review of barriers that people face in their path to justice. This book explores legal empowerment and gender and presents the findings of a survey study on the perceptions of Iranian women toward the justice system in their country.

In the chapter about barriers in the path to justice, access to justice at its most basic level shares similar concepts with access to the legal system. By making courts and legal processes more accessible provides better access to justice. The first category of barriers is in relation to the legal protection of rights. Even if Iran is a party to the international human rights conventions there is a lack of fulfilment of these rights.

Access to justice as a human right

Edited by Francesco Francioni. – 2007. – ISBN: 9780199233083

From the publisher:

  • Unique collection of essays provides an overview of the problems at the heart of providing access to justice in international law.
  • Covers diverse subjects including environmental justice, situations of armed conflict, and access to justice for torture victims and terrorist suspects.
  • Examines European state protection of access to justice in comparative perspective

From the abstract:

In international law, as in any other legal system, respect and protection of human rights can be guaranteed only by the availability of effective judicial remedies. When a right is violated or damage is caused, access to justice is of fundamental importance for the injured individual and it is an essential component of the rule of law. Yet, access to justice as a human right remains problematic in international law. The author explains in the chapters perspectives on the present status of access to justice and what can be seen as problematic.

Share with your friends
Scroll to top