Civil Justice - Focus on Housing

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 wide in matters of housing law. The most common and pressing housing issues are

  • Missed mortgage payments and foreclosures
  • Eviction
  • The failure of landlords to provide repairs and services
  • Disputes over the terms of leases
  • Harassment
  • Unsanitary or unsafe housing

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 for housing law including:

  • Expanded services and new civil justice advocates
  • The simplification of legal forms and procedures
  • The unbundling of legal services

Read the full report with its seven overall recommendations here

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

Learn about the Making Justice Accessible initiative here

Civil Justice for All - Housing Committee

Colleen Cotter (Cochair)
Executive Director, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland

Diane P. Wood (Cochair)
Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit


Fern Fisher
Special Assistant for Social Justice Initiatives to the Dean of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University; former Director, New York State Courts Access to Justice Program

Risa L. Goluboff
Dean; Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

John Mark Hansen
Charles L. Hutchinson Distinguished Service Professor, The University of Chicago

Nathan L. Hecht
Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Texas

Luz Herrera
Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Experiential Education, Texas A&M University School of Law

David F. Levi
Levi Family Professor of Law and Judicial Studies and Director of the Bolch Judicial Institute, Duke University

Jonathan Lippman
Of Counsel, Latham & Watkins

Susan M. Liss
Nonprofit Counsel/Consultant; Former Executive Director, Justice at Stake

Margaret H. Marshall
Senior Counsel, Choate, Hall and Stewart

Laurie Mikva
Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

John Pollock
Coordinator, National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, Public Justice Center

Raphael Ramos
Director, Eviction Defense Project, Legal Action of Wisconsin

Judith Resnik
Arthur Liman Professor of Law, Yale Law School

Blake Strode
Executive Director, ArchCity Defenders

Lawrence Wood
Supervisory Attorney, Legal Aid Chicago

The report and recommendations are online.