Legal assistance as a fundamental human right

In almost all of the world, free legal assistance is considered an essential pillar in the development of fair judicial systems that guarantee equity between the people who make up a society.

A judicial system that guarantees legal representation to all people without distinction of their economic situation is essential to maintain their integrity and ensure that the fundamental rights of all individuals are respected.

Next, we will talk about the importance of free legal assistance, what mechanisms exist to guarantee it and the benefits it brings to society in general.

What is the importance of free legal assistance?

When we talk about the importance of legally assisting a person for free, we will find multiple reasons why this representation is necessary.

Right to defense

Justice must be accessible to all, based on the presumption of innocence.

For this reason, guaranteeing free assistance evens out any inequalities that may arise among economically disadvantaged people.

Fair trial based on law

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties emphasize the right of people to a fair trial.

Taking the above into account, when we talk about a fair trial we are referring to the right to be represented by a lawyer.

Operation of the Judicial System

For the judicial system to function properly, all parties must have the ability to present their cases effectively.

Lack of legal representation can lead to unfair trials and overloading the system with poorly presented cases.

Mechanisms by which free legal assistance is provided.

There are various mechanisms that have been developed by the same countries in order to allow people to access legal representation free of charge.

It is worth mentioning that this representation is accessible to anyone regardless of socioeconomic status.

Next, we will address some of the mechanisms:

Public Defenders

In these, lawyers paid by the state represent people who cannot afford a private lawyer.
These advocates work with the government and are assigned cases for free or at a very low cost.

Pro Bono Legal Assistance

In this case, private lawyers offer legal services at no cost for some cases, they do so as part of their commitment to social justice and professional responsibility.

University legal offices

In many universities, law schools have legal offices where law students, supervised by their attorneys and collaborators, provide free legal advice and representation.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Numerous NGOs offer free legal services, especially in areas such as human rights, civil rights, and assistance to vulnerable groups.

Benefits of Free Legal Assistance

When we talk about the benefits of providing free legal assistance we can indicate that these cover both the people, the professional and also the judicial system.

Protection of Rights

Its main pillar is to ensure that the rights of individuals are protected.

This is extremely important in criminal cases, where a person’s freedom is at stake, but also in civil and administrative proceedings.

Access to justice

It allows easy access to justice for those who would otherwise not be able to afford legal representation, ensuring that all citizens fully participate in the judicial system.

Reduction of Injustices

By having professional, specialized and trained attorneys representing both parties, there is a greater likelihood that cases will be resolved fairly and equitably.

Strengthening the Judicial System

A judicial system that ensures that everyone has adequate representation is consolidated and strengthened and is capable of reaching fair and effective decisions.

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