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Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

Legal Aid at a Crossroads in Jordan

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The history and development of legal aid as a concept, a service and a right is varied across countries and has changed over time. Once a charitable act, expanded through the twentieth century as a state service for the needy in criminal matters, its zenith was reached with the decision written in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights; which expanded the notion of legal aid as the means to ‘ensure effective access to justice’. Although not widely implemented as expansively as this, this statement made clear the indelible link between accessing legal aid and accessing justice. It sets the path for the argument that legal aid, in and of itself, is an enabling, fundamental right. Legal aid provides the means through which disadvantaged and marginalized populations can access the law to ensure that justice is served, regardless of one’s legal status, financial position or power. It should be no different in Jordan.

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