National Center for Access to Justice

Welcome to the National Center for Access to Justice at Fordham Law School

Our vision:  

We all rely on our system of justice to halt domestic violence, stop unlawful foreclosures, preserve the unity of families, secure wages owed to employees, and in certain circumstances to stop or reverse unfair criminal proceedings. We all want our justice system to be fair.

But, too often, people are unable to obtain a legal representative, understand the proceedings against them, and secure a just result. In civil cases, 80% of the legal needs of the poor are unmet. In criminal cases, people unable to afford a lawyer are promised counsel, but only the poorest obtain it, often it is late, and often its quality is often impaired.

Justice is among our society’s most profound ideals. Access to justice is the right to be heard. It means that people and groups can learn about and protect their rights through a neutral and nondiscriminatory process that determines the facts, applies the fair rule of law, and enforces the result.

NCAJ is the academically affiliated national organization that relies on data to accomplish policy reforms that help people obtain justice.

Our projects:  

  • The Justice Index Project, in which we are using data and indicators at to grade the states on their degree of adoption of best policies for civil legal aid, language access, disability access, and people without lawyers.
  • The Goal 16 Project, in which we are supporting the implementation of Goal 16 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by bringing experts and government officials together to design new approaches for measuring access to justice in the United States.
  • The Research Project, in which we are supporting research and researchers to evaluate new models of legal assistance.

Our headlines:

  • Join us on the evening of October 19, 2016, starting at 5:30pm, as NCAJ is welcomed to Fordham Law School, as we launch Fordham Law’s new Access to Justice Initiative, and as we moderate a conversation with leading state court chief justices, Where the Civil and Criminal Justice Systems Meet:  Next Steps in the Access to Justice Revolution. Register here.
  • View an interview with NCAJ’s Executive Director, David Udell, on Bob Herbert’s show, Op-Ed.TV!
  • Check out NCAJ’s Justice Index! It’s in the news and it’s also in this new US Dept of Justice report!

We hope you will learn more about NCAJ’s mission and activities and join us in our work to increase access to justice.