American Judges Association



David Dreyer

Date of this Version



Court Review - Volume 56


Used by permission.


This special issue of Court Review presents a topic that is central to our republic: access to justice. Most agree that the United States of America being the greatest country on Earth is primarily owing to our unique and dynamic legal system. Courts are open, decisions are made by lay juries, and the common law is rich and enduring. But our freedom and the rule of law come with a bedeviling byproduct: access to advice, representation by a lawyer, and sufficient procedural fairness are dependent on resources. Low-income citizens are provided an attorney in criminal proceedings, of course, but what about the rest? There is no guarantee that the system is open to a single mom with an unscrupulous landlord. When civil legal problems arise, many Americans are unable to do anything. So it has become a partial system—one for those who get access—and none for those who cannot. Our contributors are seasoned observers of the many aspects of this crucial subject, and show extraordinary thinking upon which we can be well-informed, and ready to reflect going forward.