Access to Justice


The concept of “Access to Justice”  is a fundamental principle that ensures individuals have the right to seek and obtain a remedy through fair and effective judicial and administrative processes when their rights are violated.

Article 14 of the CCPR specifically addresses the right to access justice. It outlines several components that contribute to this concept:

Fair and Public Hearing

This entails the right to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal established by law. It includes the right to be informed of the charges or claims against you, the right to legal representation, the opportunity to present one’s case and evidence, and the right to challenge or appeal decisions.

Equality before the Courts

Individuals have the right to equality before the courts and tribunals. This means that everyone should have the same access to justice without discrimination based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.

Presumption of Innocence

The principle of innocence until proven guilty is a fundamental aspect of access to justice. It means that anyone accused of a crime should be considered innocent until proven guilty according to law.

Right to Legal Assistance

This includes the right to legal assistance, especially for those who cannot afford legal representation. States are often required to provide legal aid to ensure effective access to justice for all.

Prompt and Public Trial

There is a right to a trial without undue delay, and the proceedings should be conducted in a public manner unless there are compelling reasons for privacy.

Right to Appeal

Individuals have the right to have their case reviewed by a higher tribunal, ensuring that any errors or injustices in the initial judgment can be corrected.

Access to justice is not merely about the existence of courts and legal systems but also about their effectiveness, fairness, and accessibility to all individuals. It encompasses a broad spectrum of rights and guarantees that ensure individuals can seek redress and protection from violations of their civil and political rights.

Governments are responsible for establishing and maintaining systems that provide effective access to justice for all, regardless of their social or economic status. This includes ensuring legal representation, providing information about rights and procedures, removing barriers to accessing courts, and guaranteeing fair and impartial proceedings.

Constitution of Pakistan

Access to justice is a fundamental right as provided in the Constitution of Pakistan 1973. Article 10(a) of the Constitution guarantees the ‘right to fair trial’ as a fundamental right.

‘Equality before the law’ is another fundamental right guaranteed by article 25 of the Constitution.

Additionally, under Article 37(d), the state is obligated to provide inexpensive and expeditious justice to all citizens, including those in Sindh.

Latest on Access to Justice

Nikah rights

THE Supreme Court recently delivered a judgement championing the rights of women within a marriage. The ruling stemmed from a case where

Read More →