According to the National Access to Justice Center at the Cardoza Law School’s just released Justice Index, California was fairly far down on the “Composite” rankings of all states in providing access to justice.
The National Center for Access to Justice describes The Justice Index as “a snapshot of the degree to which best practices for ensuring access to the civil and criminal justice systems have been adopted across the states”.
The National Law Journal reviewed The Justice Index in “An Access to Justice Scorebook Report: Even the best states post so-so grades”, by Karen Sloan, March 03, 2014. From the Justice Index statistics, the article cited the example below:
“Oklahoma has no policies in place to help people with limited English skills negotiate their legal problems, does little to assist people who represent themselves and maintains fewer than one civil legal aid attorney for every 10,000 people living below the poverty level…
By those and other measures, the state ranks at the very bottom in ensuring access to
Unfortunately, though shocking, these statistics are not uncommon among the states. While California does well at assisting self represented litigants, in all other ratings categories, the state falls well below the top 10. Also, lest we become complacent, remember that we are at the top in that one category among states with “so-so grades”. There is still a lot that attorneys can do to improve the picture these statistics paint, volunteering, lobbying and more.
Most everyone can tell a tearful story of people suffering horrendous outcomes because they could not get their day in court or could not participate fully when the day came. Those individual stories are justly moving. This new report puts statistics to the face of these stories.
The study has been lauded by many self-help associations as well as other organizations but this quote from Richard Zorza, Founder, Self Represented Litigants Network, email@example.com puts it best, I think:
“The Justice Index is transformative. It moves us from an often-dead end discussion about the access crisis to the possibility of a specific and concrete discussion of what
needs to be done and where. This is a very important milestone.”
Read the full report at: http://www.justiceindex.org/
Category Ratings cover the Following Areas:
Support for self-represented litigants
(More than 25 million people in the United States have limited proficiency in the English language.)