Aug. 31, 2020

The United Nations has released its first-ever guidelines on access to social justice for people with disabilities to make it easier for them to access justice systems around the world.


The guidelines outline a set of 10 principles and detail the steps for implementation. The 10 principles are:

  • Principle 1: All persons with disabilities have legal capacity and, therefore, no one shall be denied access to justice on the basis of disability.

  • Principle 2: Facilities and services must be universally accessible to ensure equal access to justice without discrimination of persons with disabilities.

  • Principle 3: Persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, have the right to appropriate procedural accommodations.

  • Principle 4: Persons with disabilities have the right to access legal notices and information in a timely and accessible manner on an equal basis with others.

  • Principle 5: Persons with disabilities are entitled to all substantive and procedural safeguards recognized in international law on an equal basis with others, and States must provide the necessary accommodations to guarantee due process.

  • Principle 6: Persons with disabilities have the right to free or affordable legal assistance.

  • Principle 7: Persons with disabilities have the right to participate in the administration of justice on an equal basis with others.

  • Principle 8: Persons with disabilities have the rights to report complaints and initiate legal proceedings concerning human rights violations and crimes, have their complaints investigated and be afforded effective remedies.

  • Principle 9: Effective and robust monitoring mechanisms play a critical role in supporting access to justice for persons with disabilities.

  • Principle 10: All those working in the justice system must be provided with awareness-raising and training programmes addressing the rights of persons with disabilities, in particular in the context of access to justice.