This is part of a five-country study prepared for the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention.
Democracy functions as a system with formal and informal institutional interrelated mechanisms serving the purpose of translating social preferences into public policies. Enhancing the effectiveness of society’s dispute resolution mechanisms is also a way to address social preferences through public policies within the judicial domain and is also a way to ensure that the institutions responsible for the interpretation and application of laws are able to attract those parties who can’t find any other way to redress their grievances and solve their conflicts.
In order to avoid cultural, socio-economic, geographic, and political barriers to access the court system, the judiciary must adopt the most effective substantive and procedural mechanisms capable of reducing the transaction costs faced by those seeking to resolve their conflicts. If barriers to the judicial system affect the socially marginalized and poorest segments of the population, expectations of social and political conflict are more common, social interaction is more difficult, and disputes consume additional resources.
It is clear by now that a centralized “top-down” approach to law making has caused social rejection of the formal legal system among marginalized segments of the populations in developing countries who perceive themselves as “divorced” from the formal framework of public institutions. This “divorce” reflects a gap between “law in the books” and “law-in-action” found in most developing countries.
As a result, large segments of the population who lack the information or the means to surmount the significant substantive and procedural barriers seek informal mechanisms to redress their grievances. Informal institutions do provide an escape valve for certain types of conflicts. Yet many other types of disputes involving, for example, fundamental rights and the public interest remain unresolved. This state of affairs damages the legitimacy of the state, hampers economic interaction, and negatively affects the poorest segments of the population.
This background paper addresses these concerns by using case study analysis to identify the links between access to justice and poverty, and by then identifying those governance-related factors blocking the access to justice to the poorest segments of the population. We assess the nature of these links through the study of three cases that describes and analyzes the patterns of demand for formal and informal mechanisms to resolve disputes by samples of the rural population in Colombia’s Andean Region—where 70 percent of the nation’s population lives. Two rural areas within the Department of Boyaca have been selected for this study: Pauna and San Pablo de Borbur. We must note that these two municipal jurisdictions have been experiencing relatively low levels of violence and guerrilla activity compared to the rest of the Andean Region. These two regions will be compared to a third Colombian rural area (Socha) where neither formal nor informal effective mechanisms to resolve disputes are currently functional.
Last updated January 30, 2013.
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Last updated: May 25, 2018
This Policy describes our privacy practices and sets out your obligations and ours with respect to your use of the Site and the Forum. This Policy applies only to the Site and the Forum and does not necessarily apply to our offline collection of information.
Namati may collect and retain two types of information about Site and Forum visitors: (i) personal information that individual visitors voluntarily provide when interacting on the Site or Forum or on certain other occasions (such as via forms or in emails); and (ii) tracking data, which is data that is automatically collected from every Site and Forum visitor as they use and browse the site.
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Your Information is stored on Digital Ocean servers in New York, USA.
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The Forum uses data about your posts and other activity to make automated decisions about whether your posts are spam.
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The section titles in this Policy are for convenience only and have no legal or contractual effect.
The Site, the Forum, and any third party services they use, may be subject to additional terms and conditions regarding privacy and use of information. Your use of the Site and the Forum is subject to those terms and conditions, which are incorporated into this Policy by reference. In the event of an inconsistency between this Policy and any additional posted conditions, the provisions of the additional conditions shall control.
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Namati Data Protection Officer
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Washington, DC 20036, USA
If you live in a country which has adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (EU; 2016/679), you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority about this policy and its application.
The Policy was updated in May 2018 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.