In the United States and around the world, people’s lives are compromised when they are unable to understand their rights, assert their rights, rely on a neutral decision-maker, and count on the rule of law. Access to justice often makes the difference, enabling people to keep a family together, save their homes, secure their physical safety, obtain essential food, and preserve their freedom. The National Center for Access to Justice, located at Fordham Law School, is the national organization relying on data to accomplish change that assures people access to justice.
- The Justice Index – NCAJ’s flagship initiative, the Justice Index, is an on-line resource at justiceindex.org that relies on data to support the expansion of access to justice across the country. The team of volunteers that helped NCAJ to build the Justice Index has received the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award. See NCAJ’s overview here and the ABA’s video here.
- Research – NCAJ carries out research on access to justice, and is a liaison between social scientists, legal aid attorneys, court officials and other stakeholders. NCAJ is pursuing an Outcomes Project to develop guidance for civil legal aid programs and funders on best practices for using data to track outcomes achieved by civil legal aid programs for clients and communities. NCAJ convened an expert working group that recommended “national access to justice indicator sets” to US agencies to support the US government’s initiative to implement Goal 16 of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda, which calls on all countries to use data and indicators to expand access to justice.
- New Models – NCAJ helps create responsible new models to assure access to justice, including civil right to counsel laws, new roles for “non-lawyer advocates”, new approaches for judges, students, clerks, and new uses for technology.
- Language Access – NCAJ works through the Justice Index, www.justiceindex.org and issues reports to support best policies for providing interpreting and translating services in state justice systems.
- Law Schools – NCAJ supports efforts to make access to justice a core element of legal education, including by expanding opportunities for pro bono service by students and professors. We co-chair the Access to Justice Initiative at Fordham Law School.
- The Justice Index Pro Bono Team received the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award.
- NCAJ in partnership with the Columbia Human Rights Institute posted Recommended Access to Justice Indicators for Implementation of Goal 16 of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in the United States.
- NCAJ hosted “Where the Civil and Criminal Justice Systems Meet”, an evening panel discussion marking NCAJ’s move to Fordham Law School.
- NCAJ’s Executive Director, David Udell, spoke on the civil justice system reform agenda on Bob Herbert’s Op-Ed.TV!
Learn more about NCAJ’s work to assure that all people have access to justice, here.