Effective law and justice programs, including laws which promote rights and measures which support equal access to justice, contribute to facilitating and achieving other development goals for persons with disabilities by supporting rights across all aspects of life. Failure to consider and implement disability inclusive law and justice programs can further entrench and exacerbate marginalisation and disempowerment of persons with disabilities in the legal system. Legislation relating to the legal capacity of persons with disabilities is a significant issue.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) sets a benchmark for access to justice by persons with disabilities globally. Law and justice programs that are disability sensitive will contribute toward the outcomes provided for in the UNCRPD, including "effective access to justice for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others ... in order to facilitate their effective role as direct and indirect participants, including as witnesses, in all legal proceedings" and to "promote appropriate training for those working in the field of administration of justice, including police and prison staff" (Article 13).
Law and justice programs may also support monitoring of rights provided for in the UNCRPD by independent monitoring mechanisms (such as human rights institutions) and by Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) (Article 33).
Working with governments, judiciary, correctional services, DPOs, civil society, local developmental leaders, and coalitions can bring about effective, positive and enabling change.
The resources below include baseline studies to assist law and justice programming decisions, guides to assist better understanding of the rights provided for in the UNCRPD and position papers on access to justice. There is a lack of published online good practice examples or case studies improving access to justice for persons with disabilities through development assistance, and this is a current gap. Resources on good practice will be added as they become available.
See also: Governance and Violence against women and girls.