Arkansas Access to Justice Awarded SJI Grant for Study on Unrepresented Litigants
The Arkansas Access to Justice Commission is one of nine recipients of a State Justice Institute Technical Assistance Grant for the 3rd quarter of 2012, according to Commission Executive Director Amy Johnson. The grant will cover $46,400 of the project’s total estimated cost of $69,656. Grant partners include Arkansas Legal Services Partnership, the Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation, and the Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts.
The project will build a foundation to establish a statewide strategy for addressing the growing number of unrepresented litigants in Arkansas courts. Specific objectives of the project are to (1) conduct an assessment of resources that currently exist which address or may potentially address the needs of unrepresented litigants in Arkansas; (2) determine which additional resources are most needed to address the needs of unrepresented litigants; and (3) prepare a plan for the development and sustainability of those resources.
“This study is a necessary step toward addressing a huge problem for low-income Arkansans and for our courts,” said Johnson. “When those who can’t afford attorneys are left to try to navigate the legal system on their own, justice is not served.”
A 2011 pilot study conducted by the Commission through the Clinton School of Public Service suggests that as many as 90 to 95% of cases involving family law, consumer protection, and guardianships and small estates may have at least one unrepresented party.