In most African countries, substantial barriers still inhibit citizens’ access to justice, a new Afrobarometer analysis finds.
Based on a special access-to-justice module in national surveys in 36 African countries, the sobering report identifies long delays, high costs, corruption, the complexity of legal processes, and a lack of legal counsel as major obstacles for citizens seeking legal remedies.
The analysis finds vast differences between relatively good access to justice in Botswana, Cape Verde, and Lesotho and the dismal indicators emerging from places such as Liberia and Sierra Leone. In general, the quality and extent of access to justice are worse in less democratic and post-conflict countries. But even most of the best-performing countries have substantial work to do before they can claim to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16 call for “access to justice for all.”
The Afrobarometer findings released today (13 March) are detailed in Afrobarometer Policy Paper No. 39 (LINK in English, LINK in French). Watch for country-specific analyses for six fragile and conflict-affected countries (Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, and Togo) during the coming months.