Marnie Lloydd * Democratic governance is undermined where access to justice for all citizens (irrespective of gender, race, religion, age, class or creed) is absent. Access to justice is also closely linked to poverty reduction since being poor and marginalized means being deprived of choices, opportunities, access to basic resources and a voice in decision-making.1 I. Introduction An ombudsman institution2 is an alternative justice mechanism, often excluded from `access to justice' debates, which tend to focus on formal judicial processes and legal aid. However, an ombudsman or a complaints-receiving human rights institution can provide flexible and less formal remedies to the public services particularly suited to issues faced by vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, including ethnic, national and linguistic minorities. As such, ombudsman and national human rights institutions (NHRIs), by their very nature, already break down many of the prohibitive barriers inherent in the formal justice system, such as excessive costs, complexity and delays. Despite this, significant barriers hindering effective access to justice and service equity also exist in relation to ombudsman institutions and NHRIs on the side of both the institution and the public. The extent of those barriers and, on the more positive side, the level
European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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