National Center for Access to Justice

New Justice Index Research Project Underway

See NCAJ’s Press Release – March 19, 2015

Just over a year ago, NCAJ launched the Justice Index at, the first comprehensive, national tool for collecting and presenting data across a spectrum of categories on the quality of access to justice provided in each state.

This week, NCAJ embarked on the second phase of the Justice Index, sending out a new survey instrument to expand and update public understanding of how state justice systems are serving the millions of litigants each year who cannot afford a lawyer. The survey instrument invites chief justices to describe practices for access to justice in their respective states.

The Justice Index will compile and analyze the new data to rank the performance of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and, for the first time, Puerto Rico. The Justice Index findings will show where best practices have been adopted, and where they are missing. See NCAJ’s press release today for details on this new phase of the Justice Index, including how NCAJ’s pro bono supporters are helping to carry out the research!

Experts have provided valuable guidance for this 2015 initiative, helping NCAJ develop new areas for research, including rules responsive to concerns of people with mental disabilities, systems for making simplified court forms accessible to self-represented litigants, systems for tracking implementation of civil right to counsel laws, and rules for assuring that court filing fees are waived when people are indigent.

For the first time, NCAJ is also collecting data on the degree to which pro bono law firm attorneys provide civil legal assistance in each state. This effort complements research NCAJ began last year to obtain a reliable estimate of the number of legal aid lawyers assisting the poor in civil matters in each state.

NCAJ plans to go live with the 2015 data and findings on this summer, and will continue to post news on this blog as this new phase of the Justice Index goes forward!

To visit the Justice Index, go to

Click here for articles about the Justice Index.

Click here for experts’ opinions about the Justice Index.

Click here for today’s press release about the Justice Index.

To visit NCAJ’s home page (and subscribe to NCAJ’s blog), go to