Saturday, October 16, 2010

Report rates the USA last in "access to justice"

The World Justice Project issued a new report today ranking the “rule of law” in 35 countries, including the United States. Go here for a copy of the full report. One of the four “universal principles” WJP examined was “access to justice,” defined as “access to legal representation and access to the courts,” calling these principles a “critical cornerstone for the implementation of policies and rights that empower the poor.” The US civil justice system was found to have less access to justice than in countries in Western Europe and North America as a whole, and other “high income” nations throughout the world. In fact, overall, the U.S. ranks last (7 out of 7) in the region, and last (11 out of 11) among high-income nations. "Tort reform" is one important cause of the poor U.S. ranking, of course, but not the only one. Lack of adequate funding for legal service programs is certainly a huge part of it too. Thanks to the PopTort for the information and links. For its full comment go here.

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