The National Center for Access to Justice at Fordham Law School is the national organization that relies on data to accomplish policy reforms that help people obtain justice in the courts.
We count on the justice system to halt domestic violence, stop unlawful evictions and foreclosures, preserve the unity of families, enable people to secure the wages they are owed, and in some circumstances to halt and reverse unfair criminal proceedings. Our justice system is intended to function as a source of equal justice, a refuge from oppression. But, too often the justice system, itself, can be a source of oppression. For people who have modest incomes or who are living in excluded communities, it can be impossible to learn about rights, assert rights, obtain a just result, or enforce that result. In civil cases, 80% of the legal needs of the poor are unmet. In criminal cases, people are entitled to receive free counsel if they cannot afford a lawyer, but only the poorest obtain it, often it is late, and in many communities its quality is impaired. At NCAJ, we are working to establish and preserve the real and meaningful opportunity for every person to be heard and to secure his or her rights. For more on NCAJ’s mission and activities, see Introduction to the National Center for Access to Justice.