U.S. Justice Gap is Under International Scrutiny

How the US can meet its international human rights commitments and ensure ­fundamental fairness in the US legal system.

Op-Ed (INTERNATIONAL)

Risa E. Kaufman
National Law Journal, ALM
March 3, 2014
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Tags: Civil Right to Counsel, Funding: Federal, Funding: State & Local, Legal Needs

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services Corporation (LSC)


DETAILS

U.N. committee wants answers about this country’s disparity in access to civil legal services.

To meet its international human rights commitments and ensure ­fundamental fairness in the legal system, the U.S. ­government should adopt reforms at the federal level and support state and local efforts. These include funding thoughtful research to measure and analyze the impact of counsel in civil cases, identifying and disseminating “best practices” at the state and local level to improve meaningful access to civil legal services, and supporting state efforts to establish a right to counsel in certain civil cases.

In addition, the United States must ease restrictions and increase funding for the Legal Services Corp., the primary federal program that provides civil legal aid for the poor….

Finally, the Obama administration should support, and Congress should enact, legislation establishing a right to counsel in federal civil cases implicating basic human needs…