Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Building A Justice System for All

John Pollock of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel recently informed members that results of a national survey conducted by Lake Research Partners and ASO Communications on access to the civil justice system were available.  The research results were reported by Voices for Civil Justice, and included a finding that most responders believe that access to the civil justice system is a right, not a privilege.  This finding reflects a significant advance for human rights perception within the US.

Highlights of the findings are:

  • 84 percent of voters believe it is important for our democracy to ensure everyone has access to the civil justice system – an enormous level of support, indicating this is a core value on which to build support for civil justice reform and civil legal aid.
  • 82 percent of voters agree that “equal justice under the law is a right, not a privilege.” Again, this level of support signifies a core value and an opportunity.
  • Voters believe low-income individuals – especially those living in rural areas – and people struggling to make ends meet, face the most difficulty in obtaining legal help.
  • Voters strongly favor reform of the civil justice system, with half saying it needs to be rebuilt completely or fundamentally changed.
  • Strong majorities of voters support increasing state funding to build a more accessible civil justice system, and surprisingly that support remains robust even when tied to the notion of raising taxes to do so.
  • Voters overwhelmingly support the most traditional and familiar form of service to ensure access to the civil justice system – namely, having a lawyer. They also strongly support a wide range of services that comprise a holistic approach to ensuring justice for all.

The full report, Building a Civil Justice System that Delivers Justice for All, may be read here.  You may listen to the primary researchers, Celinda Lake and Anat Shenker-Osorio announcing the results here.

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