Study shows that there is a large need for justice in Albania

Nov 23, 2017

The findings of the Survey on Access to Justice in Albania were presented today in Tirana during a forum which brought together government officials, civil society organizations and international development partners.

1758 people were surveyed. Finding reveal that 48.7% of those surveyed report that had legal problems in the last five years, and that these have largely gone unresolved due to a lack of legal awareness in society and the underperformance of justice sector institutions.

This is particularly true for members of disadvantaged groups, including the poor, those with a low level of formal education, the Roma, members of the LGBTI community, victims of domestic violence and others.

Nonetheless, with most disputes being inexpensive to resolve, the moderately fair outcomes produced by courts and recent improvements to the law, the Albanian population has reason to hope that access to justice can be increased in the future to meet its needs. Disputes are frequently focused on property and land and on obtaining social benefits. Those with most frequently disputes are men and members of the Roma community, while the residents of rural areas have fewer disputes than the residents of Tirana and other urban areas. The study showed that the respondents have a fairly low level of awareness of their rights: more than a quarter of those surveyed cannot name a single constitutional right or freedom. There are gaps in knowledge when it comes to awareness of women’s rights, as well as of LGBTI rights and of other disadvantaged groups. The low level of legal literacy is most pronounced among the Roma community, those with a low level of formal education and lower earners. Tolerance of corruption has become fairly entrenched, as has tolerance of domestic violence, with 22.5% of those surveyed believing that “it should be up to the husband to discipline his wife”.

In his speech, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Brian Williams underlined:” There are some reasons for optimism and achievements that can act as building blocks for improved access to justice such as the legal aid law review which aims at the creation of a functional legal aid system especially for the most marginalized populations. Commitment from the state authorities and justice institutions coupled with effective collaboration with civil society organizations and development partners is imperative in providing an unhindered and equitable justice for all” This study was developed with the support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Catalytic Fund, with the financial support of the Government of Turkey.

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