Access to justice is a basic principle of the rule of law: a guarantee for people to exercise their rights, and hold perpetrators and decision-makers accountable. This is supported by the international legal framework. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights articulates the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law, and to freedom from arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy and more.
However, both older persons with or without disabilities, and persons with disabilities regardless of their age - are disproportionately impacted by abuses to their right to access to justice.
For older persons, direct and indirect discrimination in access to justice on the basis of older age remains invisible, and structural barriers go unquestioned. The international human rights framework lacks a comprehensive definition of older persons’ access to justice, or an elaboration of the obligation of States to adopt legislation and policies to guarantee effective access to justice for older persons. As a result, it does not provide adequate support and remedies to for older persons.
For persons with disabilities, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ Article 13 articulates that all persons with disabilities have legal capacity and, therefore, no one shall be denied access to justice on the basis of disability. This was echoed in 2020 report International Principles and Guidelines on Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities sponsored by the immediate past Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
This side event will explore barriers to the right of older persons to access to justice, commonalities with the experience of persons with disabilities, and where those experiences may diverge. The main perspective comes from international law, rather than national or
regional human rights mechanisms.