Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Access to Justice

  • David Allen LarsonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_570


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.

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Further Reading

  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, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hamline University School of LawSaint PaulUSA