International Guidelines on Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities

Where the guidelines came from

The Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Disability and Accessibility recently published the International Principles and Guidelines on Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities.

What they are about

The 10 principles and guidelines are developed with reference to Articles 12 and 13 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Person being supported to understand a document

Article 12 demands for equal recognition before the law. This means that everyone has the right to equal treatment under the law. Governments must take the neccessary measures to provide persons with disabilities access to the law and the support they may need to make choices that are respected by law.

Article 13 states that people with disabilities have the same rights to go to court, take other people to court or take part in what happens in courts as anyone else.

How they will be used

The Guidelines will help governments around the world, and other people who work within justice systems, to provide equal access for all people with disabilities.

One of the principles included in the guidelines states that all people with disabilities have the right to understand the law and no one should be denied access to justice on the basis of disability. This principle is explained through a series of recommendations to States to guide them to put it into action. For example, they explain that governments should make sure that labels such as “cognitive incapacity” and “mental incapacity” do not affect someones right to make choices that are respected by law.

Why they are important

These principles and guidelines are very important to inclusion international and our members in our advocacy on access to justice and the recognition of legal capacity. We know that people with intellectual disabilities are among the most discriminated and marginalized in accessing these rights.

Inclusion International contributed to the consultation process through a participation to the expert meeting held in Geneva in February 2020.

Read the Document