Defining the Problem
In any year, over one million low-income and vulnerable Tennesseans have a legal problem that would qualify them to get help from legal aid. But there are only about 100 legal aid attorneys in our State. These extremely dedicated legal aid attorneys simply can’t help this many people.
The result is an urgent gap between the need for legal help and available legal resources. The Court is trying to reduce the civil legal needs gap through its access to justice initiative.
Addressing the Problem
The Access to Justice Commission’s mission is to provide collaborative leadership to create solutions and resources that address and eliminate barriers to justice for all. The Commission works closely with bar associations, legal aid providers, legal service organizations, non-profits, courts, faith-based organizations, and community partners to carry out its mission.
The Commission maintains four overarching goals to address the civil legal needs problem in Tennessee:
1. To involve more lawyers and law students.
2. To provide educational opportunities and resources for policymakers, self-represented litigants, the community, lawyers, court personnel, and others.
3. To make the justice system more user friendly.
4. To remove barriers to access to justice, including disability, language, literacy and geography.