Report: Unequal Access To Justice
This report, “Unequal Access to Justice: A Comprehensive Study of the Civil Legal Needs of the Poor in Indiana,” represents the culmination of a two‐ year study jointly undertaken by Indiana Legal Services, Inc., the Indiana Bar Foundation, and the Pro Bono Committee of the Indiana State Bar Association (collectively the “Sponsors”), and seeks both to document the variety of civil legal needs facing low‐income Indiana residents and to open discussion about the best ways to respond to those needs.
The Study demonstrates that the greatest legal needs of the poor are in the areas of consumer finance, family law, housing, public entitlements, and health. Despite the variety of programs, services, and individuals providing legal services to low- income Hoosiers free of charge or at substantially reduced rates, the demand for these services far exceeds the supply. This is particularly true in the area of fam- ily law.
The information obtained from all sources in the Study indicates that the current greatest legal needs of the poor are in the areas of consumer finance, family law, housing, public entitlements, and health. Almost every component of the Study points to the conclusion that consumer finance and family law are currently the primary legal needs of the low‐income population.
As a result of the information obtained through this Study, the Sponsors recommend that Indiana should now undertake a strategic planning process . . . to develop a comprehensive set of detailed recommendations and statewide plan of action to better meet the needs of the poor.