To uphold equality before the law for all citizens, the Government of Indonesia (GoI) provides free legal aid for economically-disadvantaged communities. In so doing, the GoI allocates a portion of the national budget directly to communities through Legal Aid Organizations to provide litigation and non-litigation services across the country. Legal aid plays an essential role in access to justice, ranging from providing legal empowerment to assistance during judicial proceedings.
Vulnerable persons and groups are prone to face more obstacles in accessing justice. For instance, only 8.7% of women undergoing judicial proceedings received legal assistance while only 0.4% had representation. Furthermore, 38.7% of children and 46.7% of people with disability were discriminated against, and 16.7% of gender minorities were insulted. Meanwhile, 55.9% of vulnerable justice-seekers come from low-income communities, meaning they lack the financial ability to access the justice they need (Legal Needs Survey, 2022).
While legal aid in Indonesia is undoubtedly impactful, challenges remain to ensure it is inclusive enough. This is mainly due to a lack of budget allocations (especially for non-litigation purposes) and the narrow scope of eligible recipients acknowledged in Law Number 16 Year 2011 on Legal Aid.