Civil Justice for All

Civil Justice for All

A report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences calls for the legal profession, the courts, law schools, tech professionals, and others to help expand access to legal assistance for people in need who cannot afford counsel and face devastating consequences as a result, including eviction, family separation, job loss, and disrupted health care. The final report of the AAAS's Making Justice Accessible Initiative, Civil Justice for All (HTML or 60 pages, PDF) outlines the need for targeted investments, innovative approaches, simplified procedures, greater coordination, and new partnerships to help ensure equal access to civil justice. Recommendations include dedicating significant financial and human resources to closing the civil justice gap; increasing the number of legal services lawyers focused on the needs of low-income Americans; increasing the number of lawyers providing pro bono and other volunteer assistance; bringing new non-lawyer advocates into the effort to solve civil justice problems; fostering greater collaboration among legal services providers and other trusted professionals such as doctors, nurses, and social workers; expanding efforts to make legal systems easier to understand and use through the simplification of language, forms, and procedures and broader adoption of technology; and creating a national team or organization to coordinate those efforts, collect data on the state of civil justice, and help identify and publicize effective innovations.

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