National Center for Access to Justice

Language Access Reform & Pro Bono Reform — Justice Index is Singular Source

The access to justice movement continues to advance in important ways, and NCAJ’s Justice Index, www.justiceindex.org, is increasingly a singular data source at the center of debate about the steps that are needed to support reform.

California is moving to statewide provision of language assistance services in its courts, and an AP story relies on the Justice Index for its unique findings on the states that have rules requiring the provision of interpreters in all civil and criminal justice system proceedings and the states that don’t. In California Moves to Provide Interpreters in All Court Cases, the reporter writes:

California was among 10 states that did not have a law, rule or guiding document requiring courts to provide interpreters in all criminal and civil cases, according to a 2014 survey by the National Center for Access to Justice at Cardozo Law School.The other states in the survey: Alaska, Illinois, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming and Vermont.

The AP story, as posted on the ABC News web site, is available here.

National attention also continues to focus on the need to expand law firm pro bono service in response to the justice gap. To document the significant level of need, the American Lawyer relies on the Justice Index findings on the count of civil legal aid lawyers for the poor, writing:

A network of legal service providers who represent the poor for free has arisen to address some of this need, but a lack of adequate public funds and private donations means that, as in Cleveland, more than half of those who seek help are turned away. Put another way, there’s just one legal aid lawyer for every 8,893 low-income Americans who qualify for legal aid, according to the Justice Index, a project of the National Center for Access to Justice at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. That’s how, in a country with one of the highest concentrations of lawyers in the world, poor people often are forced to navigate the potential loss of their home, their children or their benefits on their own.

The American Lawyer story is available here.

For additional information about access to justice, the Justice Index, www.justiceindex.org, and NCAJ, sign up for NCAJ’s blog and visit NCAJ’s web site, www.ncforaj.org.