22 July 2021
Category : Interview
#PublicExpertise: Guaranteeing access to justice in Latin America
We interviewed Joaquín Delgado, a lawyer from the Madrid Provincial Court. As a FIIAPP expert, he has worked to guarantee access to justice through the EUROSOCIAL programme.
As a FIIAPP expert, Joaquín Delgado has worked to guarantee access to justice for vulnerable people through the EUROSOCIAL+ programme.
What has been the greatest achievement of your experience as an expert on the FIIAPP–EUROsociAL+ programme?
Without a doubt, my greatest achievement is the collaboration with FIIAPP/EUROsociAL in the genesis and implementation of the “Brasilia Rules on Access to Justice for Vulnerable People”, which began in 2007 and continues today.
First, I participated in designing and drafting the so-called 100 Brasilia Rules, through to their approval in the Plenary of the Ibero-American Judicial Summit (CJI) that took place in Brasilia in 2008 at the Ibero-American Judicial Summit, which brings together the presidents of the Supreme Courts and Supreme Courts of Justice and the heads of the Judicial Councils from 23 Ibero-American countries.
Subsequently, I collaborated with FIIAPP/EUROsociAL in what was a pioneering inter-network action at that time, promoting these Rules to ensure they had the support of the main Ibero-American justice system operators and officials networks: the Ibero-American Association of Public Ministries (AIAMP), the Inter-American Association of Public Defenders (AIDEF), the Ibero-American Federation of Ombudsman (FIO) and the Ibero-American Union of Lawyers Associations and Groups (UIBA).
After updating the Rules approved by the CJI in 2018, FIIAPP/EUROsociAL commissioned me to prepare a Practical Guide to the Brasilia Rules, which came out in 2019.
I am currently collaborating in elaborating and developing a strategy to gain approval for an international treaty or agreement on access to justice for vulnerable people. To this end, a Technical Team has been created in which COMJIB, SEGIB, CJI, the Ibero-American Programme for Access to Justice and the Spanish Ministry of Justice are participating, with technical support from FIIAPP/EUROsociAL.
What are you most proud of?
I am very proud to have had the opportunity to contribute, through my work and jurisdictional experience, to the creation of an instrument that has proved very useful in improving the judicial protection of the most vulnerable and, therefore, to improve the effectiveness of their rights.
There is little point in recognising a right that is not fulfilled. It is not enough for the legislation to include rights, but rather it is necessary to create mechanisms that allow them to be respected and for their effective enforcement. And this is the key role for justice in ensuring the effectiveness of both traditional civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights.
Which is especially significant as a consequence of the pandemic, because it disproportionately affects vulnerable populations, which are exactly those who have the greatest obstacles to gaining access to justice: debt and insolvency problems; people who lose their jobs and/or are forced into the underground or informal economy and/or have difficulties in meeting their financial commitments or housing tenancies; victims of online fraud, or gender violence; inmates in prisons and detention centres; people in informal settlements, etc.
How has your assignment helped to improve the lives of people and the planet?
The 100 Brasilia Rules include a series of concrete measures and recommendations to overcome obstacles to judicial protection arising from age (minors and elderly people), victimisation, disability, migration and displacement due to internal conflicts, poverty, gender, belonging to minorities or deprivation of liberty, among other causes.
They are aimed at those responsible for judicial public policies, in such a way that the content of the Rules is taken into account in their design and implementation, improving the legal and institutional framework for access to justice for the most vulnerable in society. But it is also aimed at the officials and operators of the justice system, so that they are able to grant the most vulnerable better treatment that is appropriate to their particular circumstances.
Now we have to go one step further: the principles and content of the Brasilia Rules must be included in a binding international instrument (international treaty or agreement) that is configured as a benchmark for the actions taken by public bodies in the design, execution and monitoring of public policies, as well as in the performance by the different people who carry out their functions in the judicial system.
What is the main value of the public aspect for you?
People are the raison d’être of the public sphere, so meeting their needs must be the end goal for public institutions. In the field of justice, we must ensure that the judicial system constitutes an effective guarantee of the rights of all people, regardless of their economic, physical-sensory capacities, gender, whether they belong to a minority, etc. in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals, where Goal 16 refers to “the provision of access to justice for all”.
What have you learned from this experience?
The most important lesson I have learned relates to the relevance of establishing mechanisms that enable effective collaboration between the different people and bodies that are involved in a certain action aimed at improving some aspect of the workings of the judicial system (collaboration principle). Which is especially significant in a scenario as complex as justice, in which judges, prosecutors, public defenders, lawyers and other legal professionals are involved; but in which the police, public registries, penitential institutions, experts, etc. and especially companies and citizens also participate and/or collaborate in one way or another, either themselves or through civil society organisations.
And these collaboration mechanisms must be facilitated not only at the local and national level, but also at the international level in such a way that the judicial systems of different countries can share their experiences and move forward together in designing values-based measures and products that improve access to justice for all people.
In this context, I want to highlight the work that FIIAPP/EUROsociAL has carried out in recent years, which has provided the necessary support so that the different actors in the Latin American judicial systems have collaborated effectively in improving access to justice for vulnerable people: forums for debate and exchange of experiences, protocols, etc. and especially support in the drafting and effectiveness of the 100 Brasilia Rules.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the sole responsibility of the person who write them.