Its a routine thing, best seen as the normal functioning of government, which is coming more and more to recognize the nonpartisan importance of access to justice issues and measures to all government goals, including making the system work for all.
A new LAIR Factsheet issued by DOJ’s Office for Access to Justice, which summarizes recent activities, includes this very important institutionalizing step.
To further build a statistical infrastructure in the United States that addresses key civil access to justice questions that are not currently answered, BJS will undertake a multi-year effort to develop, test, and implement a person- based survey of legal needs, services, and outcomes. The survey will augment the limited administrative data currently collected by the federal agencies. Work will begin in March/April 2017, with a goal of fielding a supplement to the ongoing National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) at the earliest feasible time (January to June 2019 or later) The civil justice supplement will be administered over 6 months in more than 70,000 households to a randomly selected adult in each household. Prior to data collection, BJS will develop the instrumentation, draw on the expertise of ATJ and Working Group stakeholders, develop data collection protocols, conduct cognitive tests of proposed measures, and complete a full pilot test.
The key phrases are “a person- based survey of legal needs, services, and outcomes” and “supplement to the ongoing National Crime Victimization Survey.” (link added.)
This means many things, but perhaps the most important is that by the end of 2019 we will have a routine, institutionalized national measuring system to help us guide the successful implementation of the Chief’s unanimous, and thus bipartisan 2015 100% access to justice resolution. That remember, reads as follows:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators support the aspirational goal of 100 percent access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs and urge their members to provide leadership in achieving that goal and to work with their Access to Justice Commission or other such entities to develop a strategic plan with realistic and measurable outcomes; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conferences urge the National Center for State Courts and other national organizations to develop tools and provide assistance to states in achieving the goal of 100 percent access through a continuum of meaningful and appropriate services.
The two fit together perfectly, and even more so, now that the states are affirmatively moving forward through the Justice for All initiative.
I am sure that the two will work together to make sure that they support each other in every way possible.