National Center for Access to Justice

A Year-end Update on NCAJ’s 2015 Justice Index Research Initiative

The Justice Index, www.justiceindex.org, is NCAJ’s online resource relying on indicators and data to promote adoption of best practices for access to justice in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and, in the soon-to-be-launched edition, Puerto Rico.

Followers of the Justice Index, including leaders in our state justice systems in the United States, know that NCAJ has been conducting a major research initiative to update the Justice Index this year with the support of 25 attorneys volunteering from five major law firms (Kirkland & Ellis, Morgan Lewis, O’Melveny & Myers, Patterson Belknap, and Simpson Thacher).

The research initiative has involved close communication with state court chief justices and chief court administrators across the country. It has gone smoothly – data has been collected, quality assurance has been conducted, findings are set, and NCAJ (with important assistance from Deloitte through spring 2015) is in the final stages of uploading findings into the Justice Index software.

Prior to rolling out the updated and expanded Justice Index in the first quarter of 2016, NCAJ will communicate with contacts in the states to share the Justice Index presentation for a final review (to catch any possible glitches, but not to introduce new data). NCAJ will also send advance notice of the launch date, which will also be posted in this blog. After the launch, NCAJ intends to host regional conference call conversations with officials and other stakeholders about the findings.

The Justice Index, once updated, will be uniquely comprehensive in geographic and subject-matter scope, including the following:

120 research questions

52 jurisdictions

6,200 data points

3,120 written citations

Four categories: Self-Representation, Language Access, Disability Access, and a state-by-state civil legal aid attorney count

716 citations on state court provision of free certified interpreters

538 citations on statewide court forms in specific subject matter areas

223 citations on self-help centers and websites

More than 400 civil legal aid organizations contacted

The text of every state’s “unbundling” provisions

Contact info for all court employee/offices handling initiatives to help self-represented litigants

Links to every court webpage containing translations of instructions for self-represented litigants

The URL for every Access to Justice Commission website

Links to every state court’s Americans with Disabilities Act accomodation request and complaint procedures

Visual comparisons of Justice Index findings of number of civil legal aid attorneys to national data on numbers of attorneys in general state populations

Visual comparisons of Justice Index findings on best practices to income and poverty level demographics, percentage of people in each state with limited English proficiency, number of people reporting a disability per state, and number of attorneys in each state

And, much, much more.

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For more on the Justice Index, visit past posts, here, and future posts (available by free subscription) here.

To see the Justice Index, visit www.justiceindex.org

To learn more about NCAJ, visit www.ncforaj.org

To support the Justice Index, click here

For questions, email info@ncforaj.org