The Tbilisi Declaration on the Implementation of the United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems and Progress on
‘Access to Justice for All’ of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development
November 13-15, 2018
We, the participants of the Third International Conference on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems, assembled on 13-15 November 2018 in Tbilisi, Georgia to discuss effective strategies to improve access to justice in criminal justice systems consistent with the United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems (UN Principles and Guidelines) unanimously adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 67/187 in December of 2012 and the aspirations of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development to achieve more peaceful, just and inclusive societies guaranteeing “access to justice for all.”
The Third International Conference on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems (Conference) brought together over 270 participants from more than 60 countries who are legal aid policy makers and practitioners from Ministries of Justice, the judiciary, public defender offices, bar associations, offices of public prosecution, and international organisations, as well as legal aid lawyers, community-based paralegals, civil society members, and other experts. The Conference built on the progress achieved since the First International Conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2014 and the Second International Conference held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2016, and focused on addressing global challenges in ensuring access to quality legal aid for the poor and vulnerable, particularly in criminal justice systems.
Three days of deliberations produced this declaration, which was adopted at the closure of the Conference, with the request that it be publicised widely to legal aid networks and forwarded to national governments, the United Nations Human Rights Council, regional commissions, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to be held in Kyoto, Japan in 2020, and shared in discussions around achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in resolution 70/1.
Full version of the declaration is available here.