Within the last fifteen years, a broad access to justice movement has emerged at the state level, including state supreme courts, access to justice commissions, bar associations, self-help centers, technology initiatives and researchers on delivery of legal services. This movement seeks to provide access to courts and other adjudicatory bodies to achieve equal justice for all. This includes millions of individuals and families that are not eligible for civil legal aid. In addition to civil legal aid programs, this movement involves other providers of civil legal information and assistance and a range of initiatives to improve access to and effective functioning of state courts.
This movement seeks 100% access to effective assistance to address civil legal needs. The Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators at their joint meeting in July 2015 adopted Resolution 5 specifically supporting “the aspirational goal of 100 percent access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs,” urged “their members to provide leadership in achieving that goal and to work with their Access to Justice Commission or other such entities to develop a strategic plan with realistic and measurable outcomes,” and urged “the National Center for State Courts and other national organizations to develop tools and provide assistance to states in achieving the goal of 100 percent access through a continuum of meaningful and appropriate services.”
A comprehensive “access-to-justice system” focuses on state courts and administrative agencies as well as prevention of disputes, and numerous matters that are not necessarily handled in courts. Its goal is not solely access to courts but providing equal justice for all.
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