The Context of Our Conception
Jordanian society has been described as having ‘scant or non-existent social safety’ which is further exacerbated by the lack of access to justice as marginalized groups and impoverished people have limited access to justice. This further perpetuates the already vulnerable position of these groups as the problems they face have legal solutions, but an inability to access advice or lawyers means there issues remain unresolved and can further be passed on to the next generation, prolonging a vicious cycle of rights-abuse. Moreover according to a report issued by ARDD-Legal Aid titled “Provision of Legal Services in Jordan” it was found that women and refugees are “hardest hit by the lack of sufficient legal aid”, thus part of ARDD-Legal Aid’s main focus are these two entities. Among the rest of the other vulnerable groups in our community such as juveniles, migrant workers and others who can’t afford legal services and lack legal empowerment.
How do we increase Access to Justice?
It was found that there was a clear link between access to justice and poverty, as the ability to access legal awareness “serves to empower the poor and is therefore a crucial element in the reduction of poverty”. Thus the aim of ARDD-Legal Aid to increase access to justice can amalgamate with development work to alleviate the rights of all marginalized persons and can play an integral role in “the realization of all other rights, including the right to a fair trial and the right to freedom from oppression”.
Why Legal Empowerment?
Legal empowerment is a mechanism to help guarantee access to justice for all. In Jordan, non-government and semi-government organizations substantially provide legal empowerment. Thus based on this gap the Legal Aid Unit under ARDD-Legal Aid was created with the aim of providing legal empowerment to those who need it most, being the marginalized and disadvantaged groups of society. The initiative to provide legal empowerment, which was known and accessible, was supported by affiliate organizations and the Jordanian government. Thus emerged the conception of ARDD – Legal Aid. Under the Legal Assistance Department three separate units with distinct mandates emerge – The Litigation and Consultation Unit, Awareness Raising and Capacity Building Unit and the Profitable Services Unit.
To read more about the importance of providing Legal Empowerment, read the Legal Department's position paper "Why Legal Aid Matters."