Asian Developments in Access to Counsel: A Comparative Study

Bewicke, Aurora E. | January 1, 2011

Recent developments and initiatives have sought to improve criminal justice systems all across Asia. These efforts have been the result of internal progress, global movements, and cooperative exchange. This paper provides a comparative study on access to counsel for criminal defendants in Asia, focusing on examples in Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Legal analysis and case studies from each of these countries are utilized to demonstrate comparative modes of progress and models for pilot projects in access to counsel and beyond. In addition, this paper briefly explores the effects of an increasingly global criminal justice system on these national legal systems by analyzing the effects of Asian States’ participation in international and internationalized criminal tribunals. This participation sends a message, both at home and abroad, that rights in this context are not limited by East-West dichotomies, but may be universally applicable. Both parallel movements in access to justice across Asia as well as increasing Asian engagement in international criminal justice support increased regional, as well as global, awareness and cooperation.