Shortage of legal aid tips the scales of justice against the poor

Large majorities of low-income households face serious legal issues each year, and large majorities do not seek or receive the help of an attorney.
Column (Washington)

Shawn Vestal
Spokesman-Review (WA)
December 30, 2016

Tags: Funding: State & Local

Organizations mentioned/involved: Washington State Office of Civil Legal Aid (WAOCLA)


This would go toward correcting a glaring imbalance: On everything from employment discrimination to housing fairness to debt collections to bankruptcy to foreclosures, poor Washingtonians have little access to the system that is meant to protect their rights.

It’s tempting to say this is unacceptable. After all, if our system of justice doesn’t work for everyone, it’s not a system of justice. It’s something else entirely. But we accepted this long ago, in many ways and with eyes wide open. There’s even a term for it, one that gets used in annual reports emerging from Olympia, year after year: the “Justice Gap.”