US Policeman and Police car light

How we work

We campaign for structural and policy changes needed for fair and equal criminal justice systems. Our work has a direct impact on people, including people who are arrested but not given access to a lawyer, people who are coerced into accepting a plea bargain, people who are held for months, or even years, without being tried for a crime, and people who are tortured by the police or other state officials. We believe in fair and equal justice systems for all.

Sharing expertise

We are the only international NGO that campaigns exclusively for the right to a fair trial, which gives us a comparative perspective on how to tackle failings within criminal justice systems globally. For example, our campaign for people in the US to have access to lawyers immediately after arrest is directly informed by how this right is delivered in the UK and Europe.

Raising awareness of threats to justice

We raise awareness of global threats to justice through original research, the media and our advocacy work. These threats include ongoing problems, such as excessive pre-trial detention, and emerging threats, such as the discriminatory impact of artificial intelligence used in criminal justice systems.

Fighting for justice

We campaign to change laws, support strategic litigation and call for the reform of policies that are preventing people from exercising their fair trial rights. In particular, we fight for justice at an international level. Our campaigning has led to reforms in how global agencies, such as INTERPOL, work and we contributed to the development of directly enforceable laws across EU Member States that are protecting the rights of people suspected of committing crimes.

Tackling discrimination

A key aspect of our work is tackling the discrimination that is created and exacerbated by criminal justice systems around the world. Whether it’s pre-trial detention, plea bargaining, torture or lack of access to a lawyer, people from racialised or low income groups are disproportionately impacted. We believe that challenging this discrimination should be led by impacted people and we are working to engage and involve these communities in this work.

Building a movement

We build movements for local reform, connecting people and ideas across sectors and borders, to support innovative approaches to fighting injustice. Read more about how we are building a movement. Fair Trials regularly joins coalitions and signs on to joint letters and statement. If you have an initiative you would like us to join, please read our policy, which outlines how we can best add value.