All three objectives of SDG 16 imply ‘Legal Inclusion’ as a central issue and pre-condition. The country-specific Legal Inclusion Indicators and the mapping of excluded groups and their legal inclusion issues are based on the elements of the definition of legal inclusion as:
|“The situation in which people and nature a) have their basic legal needs satisfied through adequate registrations, contracts, or their ‘status’ demonstrated in any other form, which enables them to b) enjoy legal protection by means of effective access to remedies and the court system, and c) have access to the rights, benefits and entitlements of the society in which they live.” *|
Explanation: “The situation in which people and nature...”
a) “Have their basic legal needs satisfied through adequate registrations, contracts, or their ‘status’ demonstrated in any other form”
- Having one’s basic legal needs covered is a precondition to access the system (see c below) and to enjoy legal protection (see b below). Otherwise, individuals, their property and economic activities are not recognized in society and remain legally unprotected.
- Basic legal needs refer to civil documents, property titles, business registrations, the use of contracts, wills and other documentation depending on the specific situation of the individual.
- Having all paperwork in order also has a preventive effect. From the perspective of the individual, one feels included in society and wants to be responsible. From the perspective of the individual’s social environment, i.e. neighbors, family, employer, public authorities and business parties, there will be a tendency to respect the rights of this person and uphold their agreements.
b) “Enjoy legal protection by means of effective access to remedies and the court system”
- When the state or a private entity infringes on someone’s rights, they can defend themselves and provide evidence about the situation that needs to be protected. So long as they can prove their status, the law provides for many guarantees.
- To be able to provide evidence in cases of conflict, the basic legal needs described in ‘a)’ need to be arranged. Hence, registrations, property titles, contracts and other (written) agreements are vital for legal protection purposes.
- Legal protection is also needed in situations where there is no contract or registration, for example in penal procedures, or accidents.
c) “Have access to the rights, benefits and entitlements of the society in which they live”
- These entitlements refer to participatory, civil, political and cultural rights, public services, benefits and amenities.
The Legal Inclusion Indicators that have been developed for the Mapping logically stem from this definition.