Access to Justice:
Ensuring Meaningful Access to Counsel in Civil Cases
This report by the Human Rights Clinic examines access to justice in civil cases in the United States. The report highlights the fact that millions of poor and low-income individuals in the U.S. have no access to a lawyer when facing a crisis such as deportation, eviction, foreclosure, domestic violence, or loss of subsistence benefits. The report, which was submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Committee as part its review of U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), recommends federal reforms to address the civil justice gap. Recommendations include easing restrictions and increasing funding for the Legal Services Corporation, supporting research to accurately assess the impact of civil legal assistance on courts and litigants, and enacting federal legislation to establish a right to counsel in federal civil cases where basic needs, such as housing and subsistence benefits, are at stake, as well as in immigration removal proceedings.
The report is endorsed by the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel; National Legal Aid & Defender Association; Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, Inc.; National Center for Access to Justice at Cardozo Law School; Brennan Center for Justice; Center for Law and Social Policy; Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law; and Northeastern University School of Law Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy.
Read the press release.
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Read the executive summary
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Selected Press Coverage
Rights Advocates see 'Access to Justice Gap' in U.S., NPR, 3.10.14
U.S. Justice Gap is Under International Scrutiny, The National Law Journal Op-ed, 3.3.14