Justice Index

In 2014, the National Center for Access to Justice at Cardozo Law School (NCAJ) launched the Justice Index, www.justiceindex.org. (In 2016, NCAJ moved to Fordham Law School where it co-chairs a school Access to Justice Initiative with Dean Matthew Diller and former NYS Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman).

The Justice Index is a website that uses data, indicators, and indexing to rank the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., on their adoption of selected best policies and practices for access to justice. Its driving idea is that a responsible comparison of the access to justice policies established in the states will, in turn, promote a dialogue about those policies both within and between the states. This will in turn will prompt reform that expands access to justice. By making selected policy models highly visible, the Justice Index makes it easy to understand what is important in state justice systems, see which states are doing the best at it, and replicate the best policies.

The Justice Index ranks states in four sub-indexes comprised of multiple indicators, each weighted 1, 5 or 10 points, as follows:

  1. Attorney Access Index – ratio of civil legal aid attorneys per 10,000 poor
  2. Self-Represented Index – policies to assist self-represented litigants
  3. Language Access Index – policies to assist people with limited English proficiency
  4. Disability Access Index – policies to assist people with disabilities

The Justice Index also ranks each state in a Composite Index by according each state’s score in each sub-index a weight of 25% of the state’s composite score, and then comparing those composite scores.

The Justice Index contains 28 issue areas, 112 indicators, and 5,000 data points organized in four sub-index categories. Operating under NCAJ’s direction, teams of volunteer attorneys gathered data and also conducted a quality assurance review of data provided by courts, legal aid programs and other stakeholders.

For complete indicators and all data and rankings, please visit: www.justiceindex.org