Justice Needs and Satisfaction in the United States of America
IAALS and HiiL launched this nationwide effort to assess legal needs in the United States across all income levels. This is the first nationwide survey of its size to measure how Americans across a broad range of socio-demographic groups experience and resolve their legal problems.
This report provides nationwide data on the justice needs that people in the United States experience every day and a deeper understanding of how people in the United States resolve those justice needs, as well as what is working and what isn’t, to inform and help target reform efforts.
- Access to justice is a broad societal problem—66% of the population experienced at least one legal issue in the past four years, with just 49% of those problems having been completely resolved.
- While low-income Americans are a particularly vulnerable population, this study shows that the need for fair resolution of legal problems is experienced universally across different groups of the population.
- Access to justice is a problem that is impacting people from all walks of life, with serious social, legal, economic, and political consequences.
- While access to justice is a broad societal problem, the effects of the justice crisis are not equally distributed. Certain socio-demographic and racial/ethnic groups are particularly disadvantaged in terms of access to justice. The following groups stand out as most vulnerable: lower income, women, multiracial and Black Americans, younger and middle-aged, and those living in urban and rural environments.
- The most common negative consequences endured by Americans were negative emotions, negative impact on mental health, loss of money, loss of time, and negative impact on financial well-being.
This nationwide data can lead to a greater understanding of the justice needs that exist and help inform and better target reform efforts. With 120 million legal problems not reaching a fair resolution every year, it is clear that there is a broad societal need for reform.