Washington must recommit to justice for all

Washington’s civil justice system, though, currently fails to provide justice for all. Access to the system to protect basic legal rights is too often available only to those who can afford the cost of hiring an attorney.

Op-Ed (Washington)

Rob McKenna
Tacoma News Tribune (WA)
March 18, 2017

Tags: Funding: State & Local, Justice for All


Every year, thousands of our neighbors face their civil legal challenges alone, with no access to legal assistance, compromising the fundamental fairness in our justice system. According to the 2015 Civil Legal Needs Study Update, more than 70 percent of low-income households are hit with one or more civil legal problems each year. Of those, three out of four don’t receive any legal assistance despite qualifying for services.

This basic inequity is why Washington’s leading businesses recognize the societal and economic benefits of investing in civil legal aid. General Counsels from 15 leading companies in Washington — including Microsoft, Alaska Airlines and Starbucks — encouraged the Legislature to increase the state’s investment in these services. In a letter to legislative leaders and budget writers dated February 15, 2017, these companies wrote, “Our society is grounded on the fair administration of justice under the rule of law. We believe it is unacceptable that so many of our fellow Washingtonians feel effectively shut out of our justice system.”