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Access to Justice: Legal Concept and Characterization
International Journal of Law and Society
Volume 3, Issue 3, September 2020, Pages: 106-113
Received: Feb. 5, 2020; Accepted: Apr. 30, 2020; Published: Aug. 4, 2020
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Bruno Makowiecky Salles, Program in Legal Science (Stricto Sensu) – PPCJ, University of Vale do Itajaí (UNIVALI), Itajaí, Brazil
Paulo Márcio Cruz, Program in Legal Science (Stricto Sensu) – PPCJ, University of Vale do Itajaí (UNIVALI), Itajaí, Brazil
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What should be understood, at the same time, by Access to Justice? The present theme in Brazil has been shown to be relevant and pertinent, considering also the normative approaches and guidelines of our Civil Procedural Code that assimilates principles and guidelines, above all for the efficiency of the Judiciary and the need for a good jurisdictional provision. This article therefore addresses the challenge of answering that question by describing the main elements that portray the stage of development of the theme in Legal Science. The analysis of key concepts together with the exposure of the themes in order to clarify to the reader their pertinence in the legal scope is present in this approach. Without pretending to exhaust the subject, we seek to situate Access to Justice in the contemporary scenario and present the approaches commonly attributed to it, providing the methodological and terminological clarifications necessary for an adequate understanding of the theme, with an emphasis on demonstrating that the improvement of Justice needs above all to privilege legal institutions essential to Democracy, using above all the consolidated procedural bases. In this context, perspectives classified as legal-procedural and democratic-institutional are considered, as well as the concepts of access to the judiciary and access to rights, effective access, with visible and accounted results, both included in the universe of access to justice (lato sensu).
Access do Justice, Characterization, Legal Concept
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Bruno Makowiecky Salles, Paulo Márcio Cruz, Access to Justice: Legal Concept and Characterization, International Journal of Law and Society. Special Issue: Access to Justice, Law and Development. Vol. 3, No. 3, 2020, pp. 106-113. doi: 10.11648/j.ijls.20200303.15
Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
For those interested, there are important historical rescues in Parosky (2008) e Carneiro (1999).
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On the categorization of Access as a human right, see Câmara (2002, p. 3).
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Principles and rules are both species of the legal norms. The discussions about the elements that set them apart are rich, but they don’t fit in this article. For the purposes of this work, we adopt the current according to which the distinction between norms-rules and norms-principles lies mainly in their degrees of abstraction and generality, with reflexes in the mechanisms of application. While rule norms are often circumscribed in factual assumptions that trigger predetermined legal consequences, principles, understood as the core commandments of the legal system, have open content and are noted for greater flexibility. The logic of application of the rules, because of this structural rigidity, is based on the premise of “all or nothing”: either the rule applies to a particular case or does not apply, because it consecrates definitive and exclusive rights, and does not boast flexible working mechanics. The impact of the principles, on the other hand, admits consideration. Given the open structure, the principles define prima facie rights, prescribing, as commandments of optimization, that these rights be realized to the greatest extent possible within the existing factual and legal possibilities. In case of collision between principles, therefore, weighting is allowed, also marked by numerous parameters that do not fit this topic. On the subject, see Alexy (2008, p. 86) and Dworkin (2011, p. 39-42).
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In this regard, it is worth remembering the notable contribution of Konrad Hesse. According to the author, although the Constitution is conditioned by the historical reality (‘being’), it does not only configure the reproduction of this reality that conditions it, but it rather presents a normative force also able to conform and ordain the political and social order (‘must be’), with the weakest part not always being reputed when faced with real factors of power (Hesse, 1991).
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Free translation: “Several concepts have close links to the idea of access to judge”.
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Free translation: “refers only to access to judicial protection, that is, to the composition of disputes through the courts. It fits and operates, in principle, in the universe of the process. In a broader sense, though insufficient, it means access to the protection of rights or interests violated through various legal mechanisms, judicial or otherwise. In either case, instruments of access to justice may be of preventive, repressive or reparative nature”.
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Free translation: “first of the procedural rights”.
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Free translation: “the enforceability of a law constitutes an unavoidable condition to guarantee its effectiveness. In other words, the right of access to justice (...) is functional to the realization and effective enjoyment of the ‘primary rights’ recognized”.
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Free translation: “rights are dead letters in the absence of instances that guarantee their fulfillment. The Judiciary, from this point of view, has a central role. It is up to it to apply the law and, consequently, to guarantee the realization of individual and collective rights. Hence it is legitimate to say that the Judiciary is the main guardian of freedoms and citizenship”.
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