Identify how information and communication technologies – including but not limited to mobile phone technology – have been used to improve access to justice in developing countries.
- Legal empowerment aims to enable citizens to actively use the law and
shape it to their needs. Examples of awareness-raising and legal
education initiatives using ICTs include: using television and radio
talk shows to build links between the formal and informal justice
systems; broadcasting documentaries on local television stations to
promote gender equality; etc.
- Many justice systems have limited resources and capacity to provide
information on rights and services. Examples of capacity building
initiatives using ICTs include: the launching of a judicial website;
training staff on how to include all citizens in justice initiatives;
- In many countries basic information about legal rights or how justice
institutions work is not publicly available. Examples of providing
legal information using ICTs include: using SMS-based initiatives to
inform citizens of legal rights; using SMS-based judicial information
systems to notify citizens and lawyers of court dates; etc.
- Where justice institutions are limited, legal aid and community
paralegals provide services, Examples of ICT Initiatives to support
legal aid and community paralegals include: using radio and television
programmes to publicise available legal services.
- People living in remote areas are often unable to access state justice
institutions. Examples of using ICTs to link up remote areas include:
using mobile phones to collect and transmit evidence to courts;
providing a free-phone number to contact the police; etc.
- Non-recognition of legal identity is a key obstacle to access to
justice as it is often needed when claiming entitlements. Examples of
initiatives that register legal identity using ICTs include: using
portable registration kits to issue photo ID cards in remote areas;
using SMS-technology to gather registration information; etc.
- Managing and resolving disputes through non-state dispute resolution
mechanisms can help resolve disputes quicker and reduce the pressure
on state resources. Examples of using ICTs in dispute resolution
include: providing low-cost mobile tools linking up informal and
formal justice institutions; and using SMS-technology and GPS to
manage land boundary disputes.
Herbert, S. Improving access to justice through information and communication technologies (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1201). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2015) 10 pp.