North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission (NCEAJC)

Created in 2005 and chaired by the Chief Justice, the Commission includes representative diverse stakeholders from across the state.

Primary geographic focus: North Carolina
Organization type(s): ATJ Initiative
Acronym or short name: NCEAJC
Tags: Access to Justice Commissions

Our mission is to expand access to the civil justice system for people of low income and modest means in North Carolina. Commission members are dedicated bar and bench leaders from a broad range of companies and organizations. We collaborate to coordinate the delivery of civil legal aid services.

The Commission, which is chaired by Chief Justice Mark Martin, was established in November 2005 by a North Carolina Supreme Court Order. The Commission was established in recognition of the need to expand civil legal representation for people of low income and modest means in North Carolina. Among the purposes of the commission are unmet legal needs assessment, statewide strategic planning, coordination of efforts between the legal aid organizations and other legal and non-legal organizations, resource development, expanding civil access to justice. This Commission is the 19th commission established in the United States.

Because of chronic underfunding, existing legal aid programs in North Carolina have long been unable to meet the need of low-income people for legal assistance in cases involving basic human needs. As the number of low-income people needing legal assistance has continued to increase, court, bar, and community leaders in North Carolina have worked to develop new methods and strategies to address this growing need.

In November 2005, shortly before his retirement from the bench, Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake, by order of the state Supreme Court, established the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, making North Carolina the 19th state to establish such an entity. The mission of the Commission is to expand access to civil legal representation for people of low income and modest means in North Carolina.

The 25-member Commission was structured to include representative stakeholders from across the state, to reflect the diversity of ethnic, gender, legal, and geographic communities of North Carolina and to be chaired by the Chief Justice. Commission members included representatives of the judiciary, legal aid programs, law schools, general public, state government, philanthropic organizations, business communities, and client communities, as well as practicing lawyer



NC missing good investment by cutting civil legal aid

Kirk Warner
News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
October 1, 2015
Resources are at the heart of access to justice, and we need to make funding for legal aid a priority.


Cuts to legal aid an injustice to North Carolina’s poor

Gene Nichol
News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
October 24, 2015
In order to help pay for a regime of tax cuts benefiting the wealthiest North Carolinians, the General Assembly zeroed out the state’s appropriation for legal services.

News Story

Need a divorce but can’t afford a lawyer? North Carolina created a how-to packet that can help.

Danielle Battaglia
News & Record (Greensboro, NC)
October 27, 2019
The packet breaks down the judicial process, key terminology, rules for getting a divorce, what happens inside the courtroom and how to dress. It also provides all the needed forms.

News Story

N.C. Legal Services providers generate $48 million economic impact

Daily News (Jacksonville, NC)
February 11, 2014
A recently released report finds the work of legal services providers across the state generated $48,775,276 in economic impact in 2012.

This page last modified: Mon, April 13, 2015 -- 7:41 am ET