Future Law

IAALS and HiiL Launch First of Its Kind U.S. Justice Needs Survey

US Justice NeedsThe Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) and The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) are partnering on the novel U.S. Justice Needs survey to evaluate the legal needs of American people and businesses not typically studied.

Historically, U.S. access to justice studies have been limited in geographic scope or focused on those with lower incomes, says IAALS. US Justice Needs will be the first assessment of the legal needs of people of all income levels and regions of the country. This includes those in urban and rural areas, and small and mid-size business owners as well as large companies.

“The issue of access to justice is broader and deeper in our society than has historically been recognized. US Justice Needs will help us to understand the problems people in our society face in their everyday lives and how they seek to solve them,” said Brittany Kauffman, Senior Director at IAALS, in a statement. “We do not have a current, national survey that provides this important data. What we learn will provide the insight we need to reform the American legal system and tailor services to actually meet the needs of all users.”

The two-year U.S. Justice Needs study was launched with a kick-off meeting this week. The project will seek to:

  • Develop a greater understanding of justice needs in the U.S. to inform and help target reform efforts
  • Provide courts, legal services providers and the broader legal community with greater information on these needs to ensure they’re met
  • Inform a more empirically based approach to reform

IAALS and HiiL have created a national advisory committee to assist in the creation of the survey and ensure diversity among participants nationwide.

Data from U.S. Justice Needs is expected by fall 2020. The findings will include an interactive online dashboard to help users visualize access to justice needs across the country. The 2020 data will provide a baseline for future comparative studies.

The U.S. is the 18th county in which HiiL, a Netherlands-based organization dedicated to user-friendly justice, has conducted the survey. The Bohemian Foundation is funding US Justice Needs.


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