Academic Articles

Governance in the Brazilian Federal Public Defender’s Office



The Defensoria Pública da União – Federal Public Defender’s Office is responsible for providing access to justice for vulnerable citizens. This agency needs to adopt good governance standards to operate lawfully and responsibly, be accountable, and achieve effective performance. Although socially important, governance in this type of organization has been little studied.

This paper identifies and discusses standards of good governance and the relationships between its dimensions and variables at the Federal Public Defender’s Office. The research includes the building and validation of a questionnaire to measure the perceptions of governance, which was used to conduct 14 in depth interviews at the Federal Public Defender’s Office. The results show four factors of governance: Control and Accountability, Social Participation, Strategic Resources and Access to Justice. There were three main observations from this research 1. The public defenders and agency administration staff do not perceive control mechanisms to be part of governance, 2. There is little or no social participation in decision-making processes, and 3. Some working conditions and actions to develop the Public Defenders’ Office personnel are absent.

This study contributes to the advancement of literature on the administration of justice, proposes a Governance Scale for the Federal Public Defender’s Office, and reflects on the relationship between performance, access to justice and other dimensions of governance.


Publisher's note: this version of the publication was mistakenly typeset and published. The correct version can be found at


Administration of JusticePublic Defenders’ OfficePublic Defender Governance ScaleJustice System
  • Year: 2020
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 4
  • DOI: 10.36745/ijca.273
  • Published on 21 Jan 2020
  • Peer Reviewed