(ANNAPOLIS, Md. – May 19, 2016) The Maryland Judiciary has been acknowledged as a national leader in providing civil access to justice for its citizens. Maryland ranks fourth in the nation for overall performance according to the Justice Index, a national online resource that scores and ranks states based on the adoption of selected best practices furthering civil access to justice. The Index has deemed Maryland to be one of the states “leading the way in adopting promising new civil legal aid models that can empower people to successfully navigate the justice system.”
“I am delighted that we rank fourth in the nation for our comprehensive efforts to enhance access to justice for all,” said Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera. “The detailed research findings contained in the Index will enable the Judiciary, in collaboration with our justice partners, to identify further initiatives and strategies to ensure unhindered access to crucial court services.”
The Justice Index is compiled by the National Center for Access to Justice at Cardozo Law School. Rankings were established by performance in four key areas: self-represented litigants, language access, disability access, and access to an attorney. The Index reflects the performance of courts, laws, and the civil legal services delivery systems in the U.S., District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
“By showing the states that lead and trail on policies for access to justice and by making the best policies visible, the Justice Index equips state court leaders, executive officials, legislators, and reformers inside and outside of the government to push to replicate those policies,” said David Udell, executive director of the National Center for Access to Justice at Cardozo Law School.
In Maryland, analysis and data derived from the Justice Index help inform the work of the Judiciary’s Access to Justice Department and the Maryland Judicial Council Court Access and Community Relations Committee to identify needs and opportunities to expand access to justice in civil legal matters.