Free Legal Clinics and Their Social Impact in Ecuador

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Carlos Ernesto Herrera Acosta, Hugo Patricio Hidalgo Morales, Kevin Vicente Moreno Duchicela, Gabriela Alejandra Muñoz Dávila


The new Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador, approved by referendum in September and put into effect on October 20, 2008, defines a Constitutional State of Rights and Justice, which refers to a legal system subject to the Constitution, fundamental rights and legal mechanisms aimed at the effective enjoyment of human and constitutional rights. This new model of State, superior to the Social State of Rights, is a model that obliges the State to create legal instruments, public policies and other legal strategies to guarantee the rights of the people. For this reason, the objective of this study is to verify the social impact of the Free Legal Clinics. The results indicate that the creation of these legal clinics are very important to guarantee fundamental rights, full and equal access to justice, effective judicial protection and legal security for low-income and vulnerable people. However, due to a limited and insufficient budget, inadequate infrastructure and a human talent that is not highly trained and specialized, the advice, sponsorship and legal defense is not very efficient and effective.

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