CJI Principles and Guidelines on Public Defense in the Americas (2016)

At the request of the Inter-American Association of Public Defenders of the Americas (AIDEF), which originally submitted a proposal to the Committee, the plenary adopted these principles and guidelines that provide for adequate protection of the right to judicial defense. Access to justice is presented as a fundamental human right that is not exhausted upon entering the judicial instance but extends throughout all stages. Reference is made to the work of public defenders in the service of legal defense and their role in the field of prevention, denunciation and accompaniment of victims of torture and other inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment. It also promotes the importance of the independence, functional, financial and/or budgetary autonomy of the official public defense, and the inclusion of such defense in all jurisdictions (not limited to the criminal jurisdiction only). Finally, States are urged to eliminate obstacles that affect or limit access to public defense, and to provide access to justice to their citizens through a free state legal aid service.

CJI/RES. 226 (LXXXIX-O/16)
Principles and Guidelines on Public Defense in the Americas (Annex:: CJI/doc.509/16 rev.2)