Global Insights on Access to Justice is the first-ever effort to capture comparable data on legal needs and public access to civil justice on a global scale, representing the voices of more than 46,000 people in 45 countries.
Global Insights on Access to Justice: Findings from the World Justice Project General Population Poll in 45 Countries presents data on how ordinary people around the world navigate their everyday legal problems, highlighting the most common legal conflicts and courses of action, whether respondents are able to resolve their legal problems, and their satisfaction with the resolution process. The study also highlights respondents’ assessment of their own legal confidence and capability, hardships experienced as a result of their legal problem, and whether any party involved in the dispute resorted to violence.
The data presented in this report are derived from the dispute resolution module of the World Justice Project’s General Population Poll (GPP), administered in 45 countries and jurisdictions in the fall of 2017 using a probability sample of 1,000 respondents in the three largest cities of each country. This report provides the first public, cross-country dataset on access to civil justice, which the WJP will expand in 2018 to include more than 100 countries.
The data derived from the dispute resolution module of the GPP are presented as 45 country profiles. Each profile features data from select questions in the module, and is designed to illustrate the paths that respondents followed to deal with their legal problems by highlighting:
- Incidence of Legal Problems: The percentage of those surveyed who experienced any legal problem in the last two years, both overall and disaggregated by gender.
- Violence: The percentage of those who experienced a legal problem and reported that one of the parties resorted to physical violence during or in the process of settling the dispute.
- Action or Inaction: The percentage of those who experienced a legal problem and whether they turned to any institution or actor to adjudicate, mediate, or resolve the problem.
- Status of Legal Problems: Whether respondents’ legal problem is done or ongoing. For those whose legal problem is done, the profile shows a breakdown of how the problem was concluded.
- Process, Perceptions & Legal Capability: Data on the duration of the resolution process, financial hardship, satisfaction with the outcome or process thus far, and respondent’s assessment of their legal confidence and capability. This is broken down according to whether respondents’ legal problems are resolved or ongoing.
- Hardship: The percentage – both overall and disaggregated by gender – of those who experienced a legal problem and who reported that they experienced any kind of hardship as a result, including stress-related illness, the breakdown of a relationship, loss of employment or the need to relocate, and problems with alcohol or drugs.
Each profile can be downloaded individually, as can the full report, methodology, survey instrument, and summary statistics for this study.
The data and methodology presented in Global Insights on Access to Justice are the culmination of an extensive two-year pilot and vetting process, and reflect the consultations of governments, multilaterals, local civil society organizations, and academics from 17 countries. While results vary by country, this study reveals that people in all countries experience legal problems, regardless of their socio-economic status and gender. What’s more, many people’s approach to resolving their legal issues does not involve lawyers and courts at all, with most respondents surveyed preferring to seek help from a family member or friend or to work out the problem directly with the other party. This study also reveals that, across countries, many people’s legal problems remain unresolved, either because they could not fully settle the issue or because they ultimately give up or move away. Last but certainly not least, with more than 1 in 4 respondents (26%) having experienced a stress-related illness and more than 1 in 5 respondents (21%) reporting the loss of employment or need to relocate as a result of their legal problem, Global Insights on Access to Justice reinforces the role of justice issues on people’s lives.