Legal Aid in Humanitarian Settings - Conceptual Framework

The need for legal aid in displacement and humanitarian contexts is quite wide. Legal aid interventions are crucial in ensuring the Centrality of Protection throughout the humanitarian response, to support affected populations not only in accessing justice but also protection, humanitarian assistance and public services. Protection activities are key to enhancing a protection environment that mitigates and addresses immediate physical threats and is conducive to longer term durable solutions that are particularly important - and often unavailable to vulnerable groups like survivors of gender-based violence and children. The provision of accessible legal aid is required under Minimum Standards for protection in emergencies in a number of specific areas, including GBV and Child Protection, as well as contributes to SDG 16 and the overall aim of “leaving no-one behind”.

The study noted that there is a significant gap in the availability of data on legal aid. This data is critical not only in identifying where in the system the problems lie, but so that policymakers and advocates can develop streamlined and targeted solutions to address those problems. 

Protection Clusters, including the Areas of Responsibility (AoR), have an important role to play in ensuring that people in humanitarian and displacement settings can overcome existing legal obstacles to access justice, enjoy their rights - including access to services and humanitarian assistance - as well as access remedies for legal disputes.