HEMISPHERIC LEGAL COOPERATION ON ACCESS TO JUSTICE TO BE STRENGTHENED
As a result of the Technical
Meeting of the Justice Ministries (REMJA) on Legal Cooperation in Access
to Justice, held in the Training Center of the Spanish Cooperation
Agency (AECID) in Cartagena, Colombia, on December 10 and 11, 2014,
within the Inter-American cooperation process known as the Meetings of
Ministers of Justice or Other Ministers or Attorneys General of the
Americas (REMJA), the authorities responsible for leading access to
justice policies in the OAS member states adopted specific
recommendations for strengthening hemispheric legal cooperation in that
The adopted recommendations are geared toward establishing a hemispheric forum for exchanges of information on legal developments and best practices in facilitating access to justice, which will also serve as a venue for fostering horizontal cooperation among the OAS member states to strengthen the legal and institutional frameworks that serve as the basis for implementing the policies and actions devised to address the topic.
The event was chaired by Colombia’s Vice Minister for the Promotion of Justice and was also attended by that country’s Minister of Justice and Law, who spoke about Colombia’s policies for access to justice and reforms in that area. The meeting was also attended by the Secretary for Legal Affairs of the OAS General Secretariat, who spoke of the importance of strengthening access to justice and the attention that has been paid to this question within the inter-American system.
The Director of the Department
of Legal Cooperation of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs, the agency of
the OAS General Secretariat that supported the event in its capacity as
the Technical Secretariat of the REMJA process, spoke about the REMJA’s
past experience with access to justice and its mandates in that area,
and he presented the results of the analysis of the information provided
by the countries of the Americas on their developments addressing the
Also in attendance were representatives of other OAS departments and other international organizations, civil society organizations, the private sector, and academia who have worked on the topic of access to justice. Those speakers gave presentations on relevant developments in their areas, which served to underscore the benefits of combining efforts toward that common goal.
Information was provided about
innovative programs and successful experiences with simplifying and
streamlining access to justice, such as new technological tools that
enable on-line communications and the on-line resolution of conflicts
between parties, on-line legal services, videoconference hearings,
electronic notifications, and electronic case files, the use of which
was addressed in one of the meeting’s recommendations.
Other topics discussed at the
meeting included institutions for bringing justice closer to the public,
such as integrated centers for justice and legal assistance, mobile
courts, local justice centers and multidoor courts, and the use of
alternative conflict resolution methods, such as mediation,
conciliation, and arbitration. The meeting recommended strengthening and
promoting all those institutions and mechanisms.
The event also highlighted the need for legal education programs to inform the population about the guarantees they have for securing access to justice, and to educate justice practitioners in best practices for ensuring the public’s access to justice, and accordingly it invited the states of the Americas to develop such programs.
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