If lawmakers kvetch about tapping the general fund — despite the compelling justice needs — they will need to latch on to something creative and reliable such as a legal-services fee or license hike. Equal justice is a core state responsibility. No excuses.
December 7, 2015
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Tags: Access to Justice, Justice for All, Legal Needs
Organizations mentioned/involved: Washington State Office of Civil Legal Aid (WAOCLA)
The we-can-only-manage-one-problem-at-a-time approach won’t fly when it comes to programs that preserve justice and fair play. This is particularly true in meeting the civil legal needs of all Washingtonians, irrespective of income.
Legislators have recognized the justice-funding gap for more than a decade. Since the 2009 recession, it’s gotten worse.
The 2015 Civil Legal Needs Study Update, a project chaired by state Supreme Court Justice Charles Wiggins, throws the problem into relief. The report highlights the unmet civil legal needs of poor families throughout Washington.