13 – 15 November, the third international conference on access to legal aid in criminal justice systems takes place in Tbilisi.
Supported by many Government bodies and NGOs such as the Parliament of Georgia, USAID, UNDP and the European Union for Georgia, the conference discusses the “global challenges in ensuring the access to quality legal aid services for the poor and vulnerable, particularly in criminal justice systems.”
By engaging national-level representatives, legal aid providers, civil society members, and other experts in dialogue, the conference hopes to improve access for the poor and vulnerable to effective criminal legal aid as well as showcase good practices and innovative solutions and determine practical and achievable outcomes.
Participants of the conference, from over 60 countries, were encouraged to develop action-orientated plans to implement the UN Principles and Guidelines and address challenges related to the provision of legal aid services.
Main topics included effective models of governance or administration of legal aid systems; Mechanisms for ensuring the independence of legal aid providers and systems; and innovations in expanding access to legal aid, among others.
Previous conferences were held in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2014, and Buenos Aires, Argentina in November 2016.
By Amy Jones