Florida civil justice gap also an issue for middle class

The Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice is off to a good start in recommending ways to increase access to the state’s courts for “disadvantaged, low- and moderate-income” Floridians.

Editorial (Florida)

Palm Beach Post
October 19, 2015

Tags: Access to Justice Commissions, Justice for All

Organizations mentioned/involved: Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice (FCATCJ), Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County


But ours aren’t the eyes that need to be opened. Decisive action by our governor and Legislature in the 2016 legislative session would be the fastest way to solve this festering problem.

And it is a problem: About 25 percent of poor people have some kind of legal need every year — amounting to more than 750,000 Floridians. Legal Aid, considered the safety net for this need, has about one attorney for every 7,569 of those low-income residents.

Worse, there is increasing evidence that more and more middle-class Floridians are unable to afford an attorney in civil matters. Often, we’re talking college-educated people who can’t navigate the dizzying terminology and complicated legal forms that it takes to handle a foreclosure, landlord-tenant or, God-forbid, divorce case.