Access to Justice

Overview

The Center for Court Innovation seeks to improve access to justice for low-income individuals in numerous ways, including partnering with civil legal service providers, providing free access to legal information, helping those with limited English proficiency, assisting parents in child support cases, rethinking housing court, and testing alternative forms of conflict resolution.

Initiatives

Poverty Justice Solutions

Launched in September 2015 in partnership with the New York State Unified Court System, New York City Human Resources Administration, and Robin Hood Foundation, Poverty Justice Solutions seeks to close the justice gap by expanding the pool of attorneys available to represent indigent New Yorkers in Housing Court.

Peacemaking

Peacemaking is a traditional Native American approach to justice that focuses on healing and restoration. It provides an alternative form of dispute resolution for cases and conflicts that might otherwise go to court.

Housing Court

In Harlem and Red Hook, the Center is testing a problem-solving approach to housing conflicts that emphasizes support and information for unrepresented litigants and increased access to legal services.

Parent Support Program

In Syracuse and Brooklyn, the Center is implementing parent support programs designed to help non-custodial parents meet child support obligations and build strong relationships with their children. 

Publications

Understanding the Civil Legal Needs of Crown Heights Residents: A Community Survey in Brooklyn

Understanding the Civil Legal Needs of Crown Heights Residents: A Community Survey in Brooklyn

By Warren A. Reich, Elise Jensen, Michael Diller, Ignacio Jaureguilorda and Lauren Speigel

Undertaken to inform the work of the Center for Court Innovation’s Legal Hand project, this street-intercept study in Crown Heights, Brooklyn documents the most common civil legal needs facing the community, and how, if at all, community members address these needs. The study found the most common needs involved housing and employment. Very few respondents mentioned seeking assistance from an attorney. Indeed, many did not know how or where to find legal assistance. These results suggest a need for “one-stop shop” services that can assist clients with a range of complex legal problems.

Publications

Domestic Violence Online Petition Program

Domestic Violence Online Petition Program

An overview of the Domestic Violence Online Petition Program, which seeks to improve victim safety by allowing a petitioner—with help from a trained domestic violence advocate—to use the internet to file the application for an order of protection.

Video

Building a Culture of Justice: How Courts are Improving Access and Understanding in Domestic Violence Cases

Building a Culture of Justice: How Courts are Improving Access and Understanding in Domestic Violence Cases

For a justice system to be truly just, it must be accessible to all individuals. However, litigants may face challenges when courts are not responsive to their cultural identities. For survivors of domestic violence, these challenges present additional barriers to accessing justice and obtaining fair outcomes. Watch Building a Culture of Justice and read the viewers' guide to learn how justice-system staff and stakeholders can serve litigant needs by implementing culturally-responsive practices in courts handling domestic violence cases.

Publications

Improving Compliance Through Respect and Procedural Fairness

Improving Compliance Through Respect and Procedural Fairness

In this article in the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s Child Support Report, Liberty Aldrich, director of domestic violence and family court programs at the Center for Court Innovation, explains how a court-based problem-solving approach to child support cases can increase child support payments, reduce negative consequences, and build healthy parent-child relationships.

Operating Programs
Most Popular Research

Video

Family Voices in Juvenile Justice

Family Voices in Juvenile Justice

The juvenile justice system can be stressful and confusing for young people and their families. This 13-minute video supports families by answering some common questions: Who are the key people I may meet? Am I expected to appear in court with my child? What's going to happen to my child? What can I do as a family member to help?

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Publications

The Effects of the Harlem Housing Court on Tenant Perceptions of Justice

The Effects of the Harlem Housing Court on Tenant Perceptions of Justice

By Rashida Abuwala and Donald J. Farole, Jr.

This study examines the perceptions of self-represented tenants in an innovative housing court at the Harlem Community Justice Center. Harlem tenants viewed the experience in more positive terms than litigants in a conventional court, in large part because they were more likely to perceive the court process and outcome as fair.

Publications

Navigating the Bail Payment System in New York City: Findings and Recommendations

Navigating the Bail Payment System in New York City: Findings and Recommendations

By Elise White, Melissa Labriola, Ashmini Kerodal, Elise Jensen and Michael Rempel

This report documents the bail payment process in New York City courts and correctional facilities and provide 17 recommendations to improve practices. Based on these recommendations, the city is working to launch the first-ever online bail payment system in partnership with the state courts and has begun implementing a number of other solutions detailed here. Approximately 16,000 individuals per year are bailed out of Department of Correction facilities in New York City, in most cases requiring family or friends to make the sometimes lengthy and costly journey to city jails. Continuing to simplify the bail payment process could greatly reduce the number of short jail stays resulting solely from the difficulty of paying bail at arraignment. This report received funding from the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice.

Contact
  • New York
  • 520 8th Avenue
  • 18th Floor
  • New York, NY 10018
  • phone: 646.386.3100
  • Syracuse
  • 601 Tully Street
  • Syracuse, NY 13204
  • phone: 315.266.4330
  • London
  • Canterbury Court
    1-3 Brixton Road
  • London, SW9 6DE
  • phone: +44 2076.329.060