Civil Justice - Focus on Health

America has a civil justice gap.
The difference between the number of people who need legal services for civil issues and the few who receive help of any kind is big and growing bigger. The civil justice gap is especially dangerous in matters related to healthcare. The most common and pressing health care issues are

  • Problems related to Medicare, private insurance, and long-term health facilities
  • Issues related to drug addiction
  • Unmet needs of people with disabilities
  • Harmful effects of other problems, like inadequate housing, unemployment, or issues related to military service

A publication issued by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Civil Justice for All, examines the civil justice gap and makes recommendations to increase access to legal aid, including improvements that would be especially helpful in matters related to health care:

  • A broader definition of “health” to include social determinants like housing conditions and employment
  • More collaboration between the law and other professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and social workers
  • New sources of funding for medical-legal partnerships, including health care providers

Read the full report with its seven overall recommendations here

Specific recommendations and case studies at the intersection of health care and civil justice are here.

Learn about the Making Justice Accessible initiative here


Civil Justice for All - Health Committee

John G. Levi (Cochair)
Chairman, Legal Services Corporation;
Partner, Sidley Austin LLP

Allison Rice (Cochair)
Director, Health Justice Clinic,
Duke University


Jay Chaudhary
Director of the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration

Thomas Ehrlich
Adjunct Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Education

Kenneth Frazier
Chairman and CEO, Merck & Co., Inc.

William C. Hubbard
Dean, University of South Carolina School of Law

Ellen Lawton
Principal Investigator and Lead Research Scientist; Codirector, National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership, George Washington University

Ed Marks
Statewide Pro Bono Manager, Legal Aid Services of Oregon

Dayna Bowen Matthew
Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School

Julie Reiskin
Executive Director, Colorado Cross-
Disability Coalition

Randye Retkin
Director and Founder of LegalHealth

Matt Selig
Executive Director, Health Law Advocates

James Teufel
Director and Associate Professor of Public Health, Moravian College

Michele S. Warman
Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel, and Secretary, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The report and recommendations are online.