Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC) in collaboration with Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) and Institute for development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) released results of a new survey: “Access to courts, public opinion survey results”. The document presents findings of the survey representative of Georgian-speaking adult population of Georgia regarding attitudes towards access to courts. In particular, the public opinion survey discusses issues related to different aspects of access to courts and attitudes of the population of Georgia.
The presented report covers the period between February 19th and March 8th of 2020. A total of 2,290 interviews were completed using the computer-assisted personal interviewing method (CAPI). In this light, the following key findings were identified:
- In 2020, only one third of the adult population of Georgia (33%) said that they have interest towards the situation in Georgian courts, compared to 46% in 2018;
- About half of the population of Georgia reports feeling that the performance of Georgian courts is “average” and almost one-third feels that the court system has not changed in the last six years;
- The majority of the population partly trust or partly distrust courts. Also, more than half believe that the court system in Georgia is not free from political pressure;
- 51% of the population believe that, everything considered, the court system is accessible; 41% believe that the court system is not accessible and the rest did not know the answer;
- Around one third of the population do not know on average how long a civil, administrative or criminal dispute trial will take;
- The large majority of the adult population of Georgia believe that court expenses hinder people living in Georgia from going to court. In addition to that, the majority of people consider duration of court trials, distrust in courts, fear of retribution, and preparation of documentation to be barriers to appeal to courts. Up to half of the adult population of Georgia named two other barriers: compassion towards offenders stemming from the severity of likely punishment, and cultural factors – i.e. that some groups find it unacceptable to resolve disputes through courts;
- The majority say they would appeal to court if needed;
- Almost a quarter of the population (24%) had heard of mediation, and over one third had heard of arbitration (35%) and diversion (35%);
- The majority of the population had heard about the state-funded legal aid services and slightly more than half – about non-state legal aid centers. Trust towards state-funded legal aid services was higher with around one third of respondents reporting that they trusted such services, compared to a quarter reporting trust in non-state legal aid centers;
- The survey results suggest that only 3% of the population wanted to appeal to court but have not done so, with most reporting the length of court trials and court fees as obstacles;
- Only 6% of the population of Georgia claims they have appealed to court in the last six years. A large share of those which had, believed that trial duration and court fees hinder accessibility;
- The majority of those who have appealed to court in the last six years see the experience positively.
This report has been produced with the assistance of the European Union, under the project “Facilitating Implementation of Reforms in the Judiciary (FAIR)”.
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