Wednesday, Jun 19, 2019
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Report: Injustice having a costly impact on GDP

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.”

Paige McCartney

Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas.
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News
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