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Access to Justice Practicum

Project Descriptions

 

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Return to the details of the project here.

See the specific projects for Argentina, Colombia and Mexico below.

Participating countries and projects

Argentina

During the first year of the Access to Justice Practicum in Argentina, a selected attorney will be placed at the Pro Bono and Public Interest Committee, an initiative developed by the City of Buenos Aires Bar Association and member of the Pro Bono Network of the Americas....

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Argentina

During the first year of the Access to Justice Practicum in Argentina, a selected attorney will be placed at the Pro Bono and Public Interest Committee, an initiative developed by the City of Buenos Aires Bar Association and member of the Pro Bono Network of the Americas. Through the Practicum, the Pro Bono and Public Interest Committee plans to develop a partnership to support the legal needs of beneficiaries of the Live Network Association (“Asociación Red Viva”, in Spanish), which serves children and adolescents who experience sexual violence and abuse.

Why is there a need for this pro bono project in Argentina?

            Child and adolescent sexual violence and abuse is a widespread problem that has gained greater visibility only recently in Argentina. For example, a government hotline that receives reports of these cases identified 2,986 such cases in the 2018-2019 period, a significant increase of more than 50% from the prior year.[1] The increasing number of such cases may be due to greater visibility arising from sexual education programs in schools: a recent report identifies that around 80% of reported cases in Buenos Aires, for example, stemmed from a sexual education program.[2] The increase in reported cases has also given rise to a surge in the demand for legal and services to guarantee access to justice in such cases.

This project will contribute to tackling sexual violence and abuse against children and adolescents in Argentina by strengthening the capacities of the Live Network Association, which has provided holistic wrap-around services to the affected community since 2015. The Live Network Association currently provides legal assistance to more than 140 children and teens, but the case load has become increasingly voluminous. Accordingly, it requires additional support to fully meet the legal needs of the children and adolescents it serves.

What will the project entail and how will it be implemented?

The Pro Bono and Public Interest Committee will serve as a liaison between children and adolescents who experience sexual violence and abuse and participating law firms, which will provide legal representation. The project will be carried out in two stages. During the first six-month period, lawyers from the Pro Bono and Public Interest Committee’s gender team will take on a case on bi-monthly basis, allowing them time to identify strengths and weaknesses in proposed organizational structure. They will also carry out trainings and capacity-development activities with lawyers in the broader pro bono network on these issues, as well as legal orientation activities to the Live Network Association staff. In the second phase, the program will facilitate representation in an additional 10 cases. Finally, the project also seeks to develop systemic, analytical information about the reported cases in order to cultivate strategic guidance on child and adolescent sexual abuse litigation.

Why is the Pro Bono and Public Interest Committee well-positioned to carry out this work?

The Committee centers its efforts on providing pro bono legal services in cases that affect collective interests, and whose effects will therefore be felt by broad sectors of the community. Its subject-matter expertise lies in disability rights, children’s rights, political transparency, microfinance, and legal advice to the non-profit sector. The Committee’s expertise will be critical to training both the Live Network Association staff and pro bono lawyers in strategic litigation in these matters.

[1] UNICEF Argentina, “Un análisis de los datos del programa “Las Víctimas Contra las Violencias” 2018-2019,” November 2019, available at https://www.unicef.org/argentina/media/6776/file/Datos%20%22Las%20v%C3%ADctimas%20contra%20las%20violencias%22%202018-2019.pdf .

[2] Ministerio Público Tutelar del Poder Judicial de la CABA. “Casi 80% de los niños víctimas de abuso sexual denunciaron a raíz de las clases de ESI,” January 8, 2020, available at https://mptutelar.gob.ar/casi-80-de-los-ni%C3%B1os-v%C3%ADctimas-de-abuso-sexual-denunciaron-ra%C3%ADz-de-las-clases-de-esi .

Colombia

During the first year of the Access to Justice Practicum in Colombia, the selected attorney will work at “Fundación Pro Bono Colombia” to set up a medical-legal partnership, providing legal services at clinics and hospitals to address the social determinants of health and tackle d...

Read more
Close

Colombia

During the first year of the Access to Justice Practicum in Colombia, the selected attorney will work at “Fundación Pro Bono Colombia” to set up a medical-legal partnership, providing legal services at clinics and hospitals to address the social determinants of health and tackle difficulties in access to health services. The project aims to transform the model of health services delivery by offering health services providers the tools to identify unmet legal needs that may directly impact their patients’ health and care.

Why is there a need for this pro bono project in Colombia?

               This chapter of the Access to Justice Practicum addresses two inter-related problems: first, that patients in Colombia face a range of legal challenges in accessing health services effectively, and second, that patients’ unmet legal needs may affect their health and well-being more than traditional medical care. In particular, because of structural challenges in the Colombian healthcare system, patients often seek to resolve barriers to access to health services through the judicial system, leading to inequalities in health access based on differences in access to legal services as well as inefficient services delivery and poor patient outcomes. Additional collaboration between legal and medical services providers would facilitate more efficient resolution of these obstacles.[1]

In addition, as in other countries, patients’ health is known to be negatively affected by many social factors such as unsafe housing conditions, poverty and unemployment. Thus, the World Heath Organization has called on countries to improve health equity by addressing the social determinants of health.[2] Multiple models of medical-legal partnerships developed in other countries provide indicators that such collaboration can aid in addressing those social factors that compromise patient health.[3]

What will the project entail and how will it be implemented?

The selected attorney will assist the Fundación Pro Bono Colombia in launching a pilot program in collaboration with a health insurance entity and coordinate a network of pro bono attorneys to participate in the initiative. The project will integrate three strategies. First, it will provide direct legal services to meet the needs of low-income patients and their families. Additionally, the pilot program will develop training and capacity-development activities for health services providers to better-identify patients’ legal needs. Third, the program will identify structural barriers to patients’ fundamental rights insofar as these affect their right to health, in order to promote system changes in health policy and public responses to other fundamental rights that might affect patients’ health.

Why is the well-positioned to carry out this work?

Fundación Pro Bono Colombia aims to facilitate access to legal counsel by channeling the needs of vulnerable communities to a network of high-quality, volunteer lawyers committed to social responsibility. The Foundation provides representation in individual cases, either to physical personas, institutions or communities, in which the impact is typically circumscribed to the client at hand. Through its “structural cases” line of work, legal services are provided for legislative advocacy, strategic litigation and structural social-impact projects. Accordingly, the Fundación Pro Bono Colombia has the experience in both legal services delivery and advocacy for system change necessary to accomplish the objectives of this pilot project.

[1] Jorge Martín Rodríguez Hernández, Diana Patricia Rodríguez Rubiano and Juan Carlos Corrales Barona, “Barriers to administrative access to health services in the Colombian population, 2013,” Ciênc. saúde coletiva, Vol 20, Num. 6, June 2015, available at https://www.scielosp.org/article/csc/2015.v20n6/1947-1958/ .

[2] World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health, “Closing the gap in a generation: heath equity through action on the social determinants of health,” 2008, available at: who.int/social_determinants/final_report/csdh_finalreport_2008.pdf .

[3] Marsha Regenstein, Jennifer Trott, Alanna Williamson, and Joanna Theiss, “Addressing Social Determinants Of Health Through Medical-Legal Partnerships,” Health Affairs, Vol. 37, No. 3, pp. 378–385.

Mexico

During the first year of the Access to Justice Practicum, one of the selected attorneys will work on a collaborative project between the Mexican Bar Foundation (“Fundación Barra Mexicana”) and the Mexican Pro Bono Center (“Centro Mexicano Pro Bono”), both member clearinghouses...

Read more
Close

Mexico

During the first year of the Access to Justice Practicum, one of the selected attorneys will work on a collaborative project between the Mexican Bar Foundation (“Fundación Barra Mexicana”) and the Mexican Pro Bono Center (“Centro Mexicano Pro Bono”), both member clearinghouses of the Pro Bono Network of the Americas. Through the Practicum, these two organizations will work together on a project to strengthen pro bono services for victims of gender-based violence by developing a toolbox of legal and advocacy skills necessary for effective pro bono representation of such cases.

Why is there a need for this pro bono project in Mexico?

While gender-based violence is a global phenomenon that serves to reinforce systemic inequalities between men and women, its manifestations are especially acute in Mexico. According to Mexico’s National Statistics and Geography Institute, 66% of women over the age of 15 have experienced some kind of violent incident during their lifetime, and 43.9% of women in that country have experienced intimate-partner violence at their hands of their current or last intimate partner during that relationship.[1] Extreme forms of gender-based violence are on the rise: more women were murdered in 2018 than in any of the prior 29 years, part of a pattern of progressive increases in this statistic since 2009.[2]

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has condemned the Mexican government’s inadequate response to gender-based violence in a case that served to establish regional standards for due diligence in addressing the issue.[3] Yet while state authorities have made some progress since then, the rising rates of gender-based violence demonstrate that broader social engagement from diverse actors is needed to effectively combat the problem.

What will the project entail and how will it be implemented?

The project comprises one component of a three-part strategy to bolster civil-society and private sector engagement with this issue. The selected attorney will be responsible for developing a toolkit of legal and other skills necessary for attorneys to provide effective pro bono assistance to individuals experiencing gender-based violence. It will go hand-in-hand with the development of a national network of civil society organizations working collaboratively to identify and mitigate the problem. In addition, it will complement an application, to be developed by IBM and civil society organizations, that will strengthen women’s ability to identify gender-based violence and access legal and psychological assistance.

Why are the member clearinghouses appropriate institutions to carry out this work?

Both clearinghouses have extensive experience in supporting social service organizations to better meet the needs of vulnerable communities in Mexico. The Mexican Bar Foundation carries out a legal orientation program, which provides representation and advice on a wide range of issues to people living in poverty, as well as legal representation and advice program to non-profit organizations. The Mexican Pro Bono Center focuses its work on supporting non-profit organizations, social entrepreneurship and small businesses. Thus, the collaborative project will build on both clearinghouses’ expertise to lay the groundwork for improving legal service provision to individuals experiencing gender-based violence.

[1] Among incidents of gender-based violence reported to the authorities, sexual assault and rape constitute the most common crimes that are subsequently investigated.

[2] INEGI, “Estadísticas a Propósito del Día Internacional de la Eliminación de la Violencia contra la Mujer,” Comunicado de Prensa Número 568/2020, Nov. 23, 2020, available at: https://www.inegi.org.mx/contenidos/saladeprensa/aproposito/2020/Violencia2020_Nal.pdf

[3] Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Gonzalez et. al. (“Cotton Field”) v. Mexico, Preliminary Objection, Merits, Reparations, and Costs, November 16, 2009 sentence, C series, number 205.

Participating countries and projects

Argentina

During the first year of the Access to Justice Practicum in Argentina, a selected attorney will be placed at the Pro Bono and Public Interest Committee, an initiative developed by the City of Buenos Aires Bar Association and member of the Pro Bono Network of the Americas....

Read more
Close

Argentina

During the first year of the Access to Justice Practicum in Argentina, a selected attorney will be placed at the Pro Bono and Public Interest Committee, an initiative developed by the City of Buenos Aires Bar Association and member of the Pro Bono Network of the Americas. Through the Practicum, the Pro Bono and Public Interest Committee plans to develop a partnership to support the legal needs of beneficiaries of the Live Network Association (“Asociación Red Viva”, in Spanish), which serves children and adolescents who experience sexual violence and abuse.

Why is there a need for this pro bono project in Argentina?

            Child and adolescent sexual violence and abuse is a widespread problem that has gained greater visibility only recently in Argentina. For example, a government hotline that receives reports of these cases identified 2,986 such cases in the 2018-2019 period, a significant increase of more than 50% from the prior year.[1] The increasing number of such cases may be due to greater visibility arising from sexual education programs in schools: a recent report identifies that around 80% of reported cases in Buenos Aires, for example, stemmed from a sexual education program.[2] The increase in reported cases has also given rise to a surge in the demand for legal and services to guarantee access to justice in such cases.

This project will contribute to tackling sexual violence and abuse against children and adolescents in Argentina by strengthening the capacities of the Live Network Association, which has provided holistic wrap-around services to the affected community since 2015. The Live Network Association currently provides legal assistance to more than 140 children and teens, but the case load has become increasingly voluminous. Accordingly, it requires additional support to fully meet the legal needs of the children and adolescents it serves.

What will the project entail and how will it be implemented?

The Pro Bono and Public Interest Committee will serve as a liaison between children and adolescents who experience sexual violence and abuse and participating law firms, which will provide legal representation. The project will be carried out in two stages. During the first six-month period, lawyers from the Pro Bono and Public Interest Committee’s gender team will take on a case on bi-monthly basis, allowing them time to identify strengths and weaknesses in proposed organizational structure. They will also carry out trainings and capacity-development activities with lawyers in the broader pro bono network on these issues, as well as legal orientation activities to the Live Network Association staff. In the second phase, the program will facilitate representation in an additional 10 cases. Finally, the project also seeks to develop systemic, analytical information about the reported cases in order to cultivate strategic guidance on child and adolescent sexual abuse litigation.

Why is the Pro Bono and Public Interest Committee well-positioned to carry out this work?

The Committee centers its efforts on providing pro bono legal services in cases that affect collective interests, and whose effects will therefore be felt by broad sectors of the community. Its subject-matter expertise lies in disability rights, children’s rights, political transparency, microfinance, and legal advice to the non-profit sector. The Committee’s expertise will be critical to training both the Live Network Association staff and pro bono lawyers in strategic litigation in these matters.

[1] UNICEF Argentina, “Un análisis de los datos del programa “Las Víctimas Contra las Violencias” 2018-2019,” November 2019, available at https://www.unicef.org/argentina/media/6776/file/Datos%20%22Las%20v%C3%ADctimas%20contra%20las%20violencias%22%202018-2019.pdf .

[2] Ministerio Público Tutelar del Poder Judicial de la CABA. “Casi 80% de los niños víctimas de abuso sexual denunciaron a raíz de las clases de ESI,” January 8, 2020, available at https://mptutelar.gob.ar/casi-80-de-los-ni%C3%B1os-v%C3%ADctimas-de-abuso-sexual-denunciaron-ra%C3%ADz-de-las-clases-de-esi .

Colombia

During the first year of the Access to Justice Practicum in Colombia, the selected attorney will work at “Fundación Pro Bono Colombia” to set up a medical-legal partnership, providing legal services at clinics and hospitals to address the social determinants of health and tackle d...

Read more
Close

Colombia

During the first year of the Access to Justice Practicum in Colombia, the selected attorney will work at “Fundación Pro Bono Colombia” to set up a medical-legal partnership, providing legal services at clinics and hospitals to address the social determinants of health and tackle difficulties in access to health services. The project aims to transform the model of health services delivery by offering health services providers the tools to identify unmet legal needs that may directly impact their patients’ health and care.

Why is there a need for this pro bono project in Colombia?

               This chapter of the Access to Justice Practicum addresses two inter-related problems: first, that patients in Colombia face a range of legal challenges in accessing health services effectively, and second, that patients’ unmet legal needs may affect their health and well-being more than traditional medical care. In particular, because of structural challenges in the Colombian healthcare system, patients often seek to resolve barriers to access to health services through the judicial system, leading to inequalities in health access based on differences in access to legal services as well as inefficient services delivery and poor patient outcomes. Additional collaboration between legal and medical services providers would facilitate more efficient resolution of these obstacles.[1]

In addition, as in other countries, patients’ health is known to be negatively affected by many social factors such as unsafe housing conditions, poverty and unemployment. Thus, the World Heath Organization has called on countries to improve health equity by addressing the social determinants of health.[2] Multiple models of medical-legal partnerships developed in other countries provide indicators that such collaboration can aid in addressing those social factors that compromise patient health.[3]

What will the project entail and how will it be implemented?

The selected attorney will assist the Fundación Pro Bono Colombia in launching a pilot program in collaboration with a health insurance entity and coordinate a network of pro bono attorneys to participate in the initiative. The project will integrate three strategies. First, it will provide direct legal services to meet the needs of low-income patients and their families. Additionally, the pilot program will develop training and capacity-development activities for health services providers to better-identify patients’ legal needs. Third, the program will identify structural barriers to patients’ fundamental rights insofar as these affect their right to health, in order to promote system changes in health policy and public responses to other fundamental rights that might affect patients’ health.

Why is the well-positioned to carry out this work?

Fundación Pro Bono Colombia aims to facilitate access to legal counsel by channeling the needs of vulnerable communities to a network of high-quality, volunteer lawyers committed to social responsibility. The Foundation provides representation in individual cases, either to physical personas, institutions or communities, in which the impact is typically circumscribed to the client at hand. Through its “structural cases” line of work, legal services are provided for legislative advocacy, strategic litigation and structural social-impact projects. Accordingly, the Fundación Pro Bono Colombia has the experience in both legal services delivery and advocacy for system change necessary to accomplish the objectives of this pilot project.

[1] Jorge Martín Rodríguez Hernández, Diana Patricia Rodríguez Rubiano and Juan Carlos Corrales Barona, “Barriers to administrative access to health services in the Colombian population, 2013,” Ciênc. saúde coletiva, Vol 20, Num. 6, June 2015, available at https://www.scielosp.org/article/csc/2015.v20n6/1947-1958/ .

[2] World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health, “Closing the gap in a generation: heath equity through action on the social determinants of health,” 2008, available at: who.int/social_determinants/final_report/csdh_finalreport_2008.pdf .

[3] Marsha Regenstein, Jennifer Trott, Alanna Williamson, and Joanna Theiss, “Addressing Social Determinants Of Health Through Medical-Legal Partnerships,” Health Affairs, Vol. 37, No. 3, pp. 378–385.

Mexico

During the first year of the Access to Justice Practicum, one of the selected attorneys will work on a collaborative project between the Mexican Bar Foundation (“Fundación Barra Mexicana”) and the Mexican Pro Bono Center (“Centro Mexicano Pro Bono”), both member clearinghouses...

Read more
Close

Mexico

During the first year of the Access to Justice Practicum, one of the selected attorneys will work on a collaborative project between the Mexican Bar Foundation (“Fundación Barra Mexicana”) and the Mexican Pro Bono Center (“Centro Mexicano Pro Bono”), both member clearinghouses of the Pro Bono Network of the Americas. Through the Practicum, these two organizations will work together on a project to strengthen pro bono services for victims of gender-based violence by developing a toolbox of legal and advocacy skills necessary for effective pro bono representation of such cases.

Why is there a need for this pro bono project in Mexico?

While gender-based violence is a global phenomenon that serves to reinforce systemic inequalities between men and women, its manifestations are especially acute in Mexico. According to Mexico’s National Statistics and Geography Institute, 66% of women over the age of 15 have experienced some kind of violent incident during their lifetime, and 43.9% of women in that country have experienced intimate-partner violence at their hands of their current or last intimate partner during that relationship.[1] Extreme forms of gender-based violence are on the rise: more women were murdered in 2018 than in any of the prior 29 years, part of a pattern of progressive increases in this statistic since 2009.[2]

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has condemned the Mexican government’s inadequate response to gender-based violence in a case that served to establish regional standards for due diligence in addressing the issue.[3] Yet while state authorities have made some progress since then, the rising rates of gender-based violence demonstrate that broader social engagement from diverse actors is needed to effectively combat the problem.

What will the project entail and how will it be implemented?

The project comprises one component of a three-part strategy to bolster civil-society and private sector engagement with this issue. The selected attorney will be responsible for developing a toolkit of legal and other skills necessary for attorneys to provide effective pro bono assistance to individuals experiencing gender-based violence. It will go hand-in-hand with the development of a national network of civil society organizations working collaboratively to identify and mitigate the problem. In addition, it will complement an application, to be developed by IBM and civil society organizations, that will strengthen women’s ability to identify gender-based violence and access legal and psychological assistance.

Why are the member clearinghouses appropriate institutions to carry out this work?

Both clearinghouses have extensive experience in supporting social service organizations to better meet the needs of vulnerable communities in Mexico. The Mexican Bar Foundation carries out a legal orientation program, which provides representation and advice on a wide range of issues to people living in poverty, as well as legal representation and advice program to non-profit organizations. The Mexican Pro Bono Center focuses its work on supporting non-profit organizations, social entrepreneurship and small businesses. Thus, the collaborative project will build on both clearinghouses’ expertise to lay the groundwork for improving legal service provision to individuals experiencing gender-based violence.

[1] Among incidents of gender-based violence reported to the authorities, sexual assault and rape constitute the most common crimes that are subsequently investigated.

[2] INEGI, “Estadísticas a Propósito del Día Internacional de la Eliminación de la Violencia contra la Mujer,” Comunicado de Prensa Número 568/2020, Nov. 23, 2020, available at: https://www.inegi.org.mx/contenidos/saladeprensa/aproposito/2020/Violencia2020_Nal.pdf

[3] Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Gonzalez et. al. (“Cotton Field”) v. Mexico, Preliminary Objection, Merits, Reparations, and Costs, November 16, 2009 sentence, C series, number 205.