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“Breaking Down Barriers: Commonwealth’s Bold Vision for Universal Legal Access and Justice Equity”

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At the recent Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting in Zanzibar, Tanzania, ministers and officials from the Caribbean have come together to endorse a set of measures aimed at enhancing access to justice for citizens. These measures, the product of four days of deliberations, aim to break down barriers to justice and cater to the legal needs of all individuals.

Among the endorsed measures are provisions for improved access to justice for people with disabilities, the development of a model law on virtual assets, an action plan to combat online violence against women, and proposals to eliminate gender-discriminatory legislation.

Ministers also welcomed various new Commonwealth legal resources, including a mediation guide, a small claims court app for dispute resolution, and a database for cooperation on criminal matters. They have additionally adopted guidelines on handling electronic evidence in criminal proceedings, providing member countries with a framework for crafting national legislation.

To ensure effective implementation, ministers have tasked the Commonwealth Law Ministers Action Group with reporting progress at the next meeting.

Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, emphasized the critical nature of these measures, noting that a significant portion of the global population lacks meaningful access to justice. She expressed confidence that the decisions made at the meeting would pave the way for equal access to justice across the Commonwealth.

The meeting also saw recognition of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s efforts in leveraging technology-driven solutions and artificial intelligence to improve access to legal information and transform justice delivery.

In addition to justice-related discussions, papers were presented on energy and extractives, including a carbon tax model law and an oil and gas decommissioning guide, highlighting efforts to address climate change through legislation.

The meeting, hosted by the United Republic of Tanzania, was chaired by Hon. Ambassador Dr Pindi H. Chana, Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs. The substantive outcomes of the meeting were commended by H.E. Hussein Mwinyi, President of Zanzibar, who stressed the importance of reforms to ensure access to justice for all.

The outcomes of the meeting will inform the agenda of the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Samoa later this year.

FOR MORE GO TO: thecaribbeannewsnow.com


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