Access to justice has come to be regarded as synonymous with, or crucially dependent on, the
ideals of the rule of law and, more specifically, due process… Thus we can conclude… that “the right to participate in the legal process is fundamental to liberal theory”. Conversely, evidence that some citizens are under-represented in legal process or, worse, are not represented at all (because of insufficient resources or inadequate laws) threatens the legitimacy of this liberal theory’ (Stephen Bottomley & Simon Bronitt, Law in Context (4th edn), p. 159).
Reflecting on the above statement, critically discuss ‘access to justice’ with reference to the gap between the theory (e.g. the ‘ideals’ and the values law ‘should’ embody e.g. ‘equality before the law’) and the practice of law. Discuss one of the following factors that might determine or affect a person’s ability to access justice: socio-economic status (‘class’); gender; disability, and/or ethnicity/race.* Discuss the key concept of power.