On 22nd August, GAROP held the latest webinar in its series organised in partnership with the International Federation on Ageing. The webinar focused on older people’s access to justice, one of the two new areas of older people’s rights due to be discussed for the first time at the 11th session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing in April 2020. The UN has now issued its call for written submission on this topic from Member States, and accredited National Human Rights Institutions and NGOs.
Bill Mitchell from the Townsville Community Legal Service in Australia was the panelist introducing the main issues around access to justice in older age and also offering tips on how to respond to the UN’s guiding questions
Susan Somers of INPEA and GAROP Steering Group member moderated the session.
The issues covered by the presentation and points emerging from the question and answer session included:
- The definition, scope and cross-cutting nature of access to justice and its development over time and recognition in international human rights law and regional instruments.
- Globally, there are no existing provisions that guarantee access to justice and legal assistance for older people.
- Effective access means empowering people and communities, access to people-centred justice services, and fair outcomes.
- Research suggests that older people’s justice problems are largely civil and family law problems rather than criminal justice issues and these should have the prominence they deserve.
- The particular obstacles and barriers faced by older people in accessing justice, including the experience and impact of entrenched ageism within justice systems, and possible solutions.
- Civil society and GAROP members can play an important role in working with experts in this field and encouraging National Human Rights Institutions as well as governments to engage with the OEWG process, submit their research and material and participate in the discussions if possible.
Click here to access recordings of other GAROP webinars and other advocacy tools and information.