Examples of Barriers to Access to Justice · Physical barriers to police stations, courthouses, jails, prisons, and other public buildings; · Lack of accessible transportation to police stations, courthouses, and other public buildings; · Legislation, regulations, policies, or practices expressly barring persons with disabilities from being witnesses, jurors, judges, lawyers, or law students; · Lack of accessible information about how the justice system works and the rights and responsibilities of persons with disabilities within the justice system; · Lack of accommodations to facilitate communication by persons with disabilities, especially persons who are blind, deaf, and deafblind; persons with intellectual disabilities; and persons with learning disabilities; · Attitudes about the ability of persons with disabilities to participate meaningfully in the administration of justice, such as the false perception that persons with psychosocial disabilities cannot be reliable witnesses; and · Lack of training for police and other officials to understand the specific needs of persons with disabilities in accessing justice and how to provide necessary accommodations.WHAT DOES HUMAN RIGHTS LAW SAY ABOUT ACCESS TO JUSTICE?Such barriers not only limit the ability of persons with disabilities to use the justice system, they also limit their contributions to the administration of justice.The ability to access justice is of critical importance in the enjoyment of all other human rights.For persons with disabilities who have been denied the right to education, however, participation in the justice system may be difficult or impossible.Furthermore, laws pertaining to legal capacity may prevent a person with a disability from managing his or her own legal affairs, including seeking a remedy for injustice.
In sum, international human rights law strongly supports the right of persons with disabilities to have meaningful and effective access to justice in all its phases, not only as a right in itself, but also as a means to ensure that persons with disabilities may better enjoy their other human rights and fully assume their responsibilities as members of society.
As long as they face barriers to their participation in the justice system, they will be unable to assume their full responsibilities as members of society or fully realize their rights.
For this reason it is important that barriers be removed so that persons with disabilities can enjoy the equal opportunity to perform their duties as witnesses, jurors, lawyers, judges, arbitrators, and other participants in the administration of justice.
For example, a person with a disability who feels that she or he has been denied the right to work may wish to turn to the justice system to seek a remedy.
However, if the justice system fails to accommodate their physical, communication, or other disability-related needs, and/or expressly discriminates against her or him, then clearly denial of access to the justice system also results in denial of protection of the right to work.