The global justice gap is contributing to an estimated loss in gross domestic product (GDP) of 0.5 and 3 percent in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, costing on average $2,000 per person each year globally, a recent report by the Task Force on Justice found.
The report found that two-thirds of the world’s population – 5.1 billion people – lack meaningful access to justice in six prevalent areas: violence and crime, public services, money and debt, family disputes, problems at work and disputes over housing and land.
The Task Force on Justice – an initiative of the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies – estimated that countries may lose up to a fifth of their GDP when levels of non-conflict violence are very high. The Bahamas was represented on the task force by former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Allyson Maynard-Gibson.
“People with unresolved justice problems face a deterioration of their health and financial situation. The OECD estimates that countries lose between 0.5 and 3 percent of their GDP due to the costs of seeking justice, lost income and stress-related illnesses and other health problems,” the report notes.
The report developed the first estimate of the funding needed to provide universal access to basic justice services.
“In low-income countries, it would cost $20 per year to provide each person with access to basic justice services. In middle-income countries it would cost $64 per person and in high-income countries $190 per person annually,” the report notes.
“To put these numbers into context, providing universal primary and secondary education in low-income countries costs $41 per person per year, while providing universal essential healthcare costs at least $76 per person annually.”
Governments around the world are being called to galvanize in a global and sustained effort to deliver justice for all by 2030, by making justice a political priority, and to give justice ministers the mandate and resources to solve the problems that matter most to people.
“Legal empowerment and non-formal approaches seem to account for less than 10 percent of total costs in countries of all income levels. In low-income settings, it is estimated that it would cost just $1 per person to scale these approaches up to the minimum level needed,” the report states.
“This underpins one of the central messages of the report – that, given the size of the justice gap, countries need to invest in alternative approaches that can provide cost-effective access to justice at scale.”
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