"Documenting the Justice gap in America:
The Current Unmet Civil Legal Needs
of Low-Income Americans"
September 30, 2009 updated report by the
Legal Services Corporation (LSC)
report updates the 2005
Justice Gap Report ("Documenting the Justice gap in America: The Current Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans")
using new data.
Analysis of this data confirms that the
conclusion of the 2005 Justice Gap Report remains valid:
there continues to be a major
gap between the civil legal needs of low-income people and the legal
help that they receive.
The 2009 updated Report suggests that in the United States:
client served by an LSC-funded program, one person who seeks
help is turned down because of insufficient resources.
Only a small
fraction of the legal problems experienced by low-income people
(less than one in five) are addressed with the
assistance of either a private attorney (pro bono or
paid) or a legal aid lawyer.
On the average, only
one legal aid attorney is available for every 6,415 low-income
people. By comparison, there is one private
attorney providing personal legal services (those meeting the
legal needs of private individuals and families) for every 429
people in the general population who are above the LSC poverty
Courts are facing significantly increased
numbers of unrepresented litigants. Studies show
that the vast majority of people who appear without
representation are unable to afford an attorney, and a large
percentage of them are low-income people who qualify for legal
Outcomes for unrepresented litigants are often less favorable
than those for represented litigants.
[NOTE: Click here to view the
highlights and the 2005 Justice Gap Report,
which was released by LSC in September 2005.]
Read the report:
The materials contained on this website
are for information and educational purposes only and do not
constitute legal advice.
Also please note that Legal Aid of North Carolina does not
provide legal assistance by E-mail. Contact your Legal Aid of
North Carolina office or a private attorney if you need to speak
to an attorney regarding your particular situation.
Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that
provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in
order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers
to economic opportunity.