WHAT ARE HIV-RELATED LEGAL SERVICES?
Toolkit: Scaling Up HIV-Related Legal Services
CORE LEGAL SERVICES AND ADDITIONAL LEGAL SERVICES It can be helpful to distinguish core HIV-related legal services provided to individuals from additional services provided to communities and groups. A comprehensive package of HIV-related legal services will comprise some core legal services and some additional legal services. The mix of services provided to individuals, groups and communities should be appropriate to the context, based on the nature of the epidemic and the legal and social challenges it creates. Examples of legal issues that may be HIV-related • Discrimination on the grounds of HIV status, sexual orientation, gender, including transgender status, HIV-related disability, illicit drug use or sex work. • Problems in accessing treatment, care and support services. • Problems involving breaches of privacy and confidentiality. • Violence against women, people living with HIV, men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and other key populations. • Domestic disputes where one party is living with HIV or is affected by HIV (e.g. child custody, maintenance and property division laws). • Guardianship and identifying caregivers for orphaned children. • Forced sterilization or forced abortion. • Criminal laws concerning HIV transmission. • Criminal laws that affect sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people and people who use illicit drugs. • Illegal police practices, including harassment, rape, violence, arbitrary arrest and extortion. • Sentencing and prisoners’ rights (including access to condoms, prevention education and HIV treatment). • Partner notification and contact tracing. • Employment issues, including discrimination and sick leave entitlements. • Land tenure rights, tenancy and housing. • Property and inheritance. • Right to education and regulation of educational curricula. • Public health laws and right to informed consent for testing and treatment. • Censorship and media standards. • Identification papers, birth and death registration, drug user registration. • Drug patents and right to access affordable medicines. • Children’s rights, for example to consent, confidentiality, care and treatment. • Asylum, refugee status, migration laws and freedom to travel. • Forced ‘treatment’ under substandard conditions. • Rights of research subjects.
Core legal services Core legal services are those services that are essential to ensure that an individual’s legal rights can be secured and enforced. Core legal services generally focus on providing legal advice, representing individuals in court or settlement, seeking redress or resolving disputes for individuals. Core legal services include: 1 Legal information and referral Information about legal rights can be provided to individuals in pamphlets, by telephone, on the Internet or in person. A person with a legal problem may be referred to different sources for legal support, including private lawyers, government legal aid offices or legal services provided by nongovernmental organizations. 2 Legal advice Legal advice is usually provided to individuals by a lawyer, or in some cases by a paralegal. Depending on the service, advice may be in relation to civil or criminal cases. Some services provide advice for people who have been arrested or charged with a crime. 3 Legal representation Representation may include written and oral advocacy, negotiation of disputes and preparation of documents. It can take place in a range of formal and informal settings, including litigation (courts), settlement, conciliation, arbitration and mediation. Alternative dispute resolution such as arbitration, conciliation and mediation is often cheaper, faster and simpler than going to court. 13