METHODOLOGY

Research Methodology

We describe here the methodology of the Justice Index research initiatives that produced the data contained in the Justice Index.

Index Calculation Methodology

Goals of the Research

The following methodology describes the framework for the Justice Index and how it is calculated. An index was created by state for each category of data collected. The category indices were also consolidated into a single composite index for each state. – See more at: http://beta.justiceindex.org/methodology/#sthash.e61k3OJW.dpuf

Index Calculation Methodology
The following methodology describes the framework for the Justice Index and how it is calculated. An index was created by state for each category of data collected. The category indices were also consolidated into a single composite index for each state. Data was collected by state for each category and loaded into a database. The majority of data is not quantitative in nature (i.e., yes/no responses to questions), with some quantitative questions and responses. The Civil Legal Aid data is entirely quantitative.
Data Elements and Relative Weight Assignments
For the categories excluding Attorney Access, the NCAJ determined a weight assignment for each of the questions in consultation with the attorney researchers who led the research and other subject matter specialists. A weight of 10, 5, or 1 was assigned depending on perceived importance of the subject matter, the relative importance of the question to the overall category as well as the number of questions or sub-questions relating to a particular issue. Weights of 10, 5, and 1 achieve enough differentiation between questions while avoiding a complex scale. Discrete values were preferred over a sliding scale for the first publication of the index. Additional information may warrant additional precision, or broader reconsideration of the weighting scheme at some point in the future. Below are the data elements and assigned weights for the four categories, by category and question as indicated:
Category: Attorney Access: Number of Civil Legal Aid Lawyers
Since the Civil Legal Aid data was entirely quantitative, consisting of a ratio of civil legal aid attorneys per 10,000 people in poverty, questions and weights were not used in this category.
Category: Self-Representation: Assistance for Self-Represented Litigants

Q#

QUESTION

WEIGHT

TOTAL WEIGHT

ISSUE

% OF CATEGORY

1

Is there a person or office in the state court system responsible for initiatives pertaining to unrepresented people?

5

5

Responsible party for unrepresented people

7%

2

Is there a statute, rule of professional conduct, or other state wide guidance document authorizing the provision of unbundled or limited scope legal services?

5

5

Provision for legal services

7%

3

Is there a statute, rule of judicial conduct, or other state wide guidance document authorizing or encouraging judges to take steps to ensure that unrepresented people are fairly heard?

10

10

Guidance for judges

13%

4A

Is there a statute, rule or other state wide guidance document instructing court staff to provide informational assistance to unrepresented persons?

10

11

Guidance for court staff

15%

4B

If yes, do court staff receive training on this subject?

1

5

Does the state provide (or do the courts allocate) funding for court-based programs (self-help centers or other structures) to assist unrepresented people?

5

5

Funding

7%

6A

Is there a statute, rule, or other state wide guidance document requiring that websites, electronic filing systems and other advanced technology used by courts be accessible to unrepresented people?

10

12

Access to website / electronic filing

16%

6B

If yes, do court staff receive training on this subject?

1

6C

If yes, is there a person or entity charged with monitoring or ensuring compliance with the statute, rule or guidance document?  If so, who?

1

7A

Is there a statute, rule or other state wide document establishing the obligation of the court to communicate with people who have little or low literacy in one or more types of cases?

5

11

Communication with people who have low literacy

15%

7B

If yes, does it require important materials to be written in plain English or at a particular reading level?

1

7C

If yes, does it provide for the use of audio or video recordings to communicate important information to people with low literacy?

1

7D

If yes, does it provide for judges to use plain English when communicating verbally with unrepresented people?

1

7E

If yes, is there a person or entity charged with monitoring or ensuring compliance with the statute, rule or guidance document?  If so, who?

1

7F

If yes, do court staff and judges receive training on this subject?

1

7G

If so, How frequent is the training?

1

8A

Are forms available on the state court website or does the state court website link to local forms?

5

15

Court website effectiveness

20%

Q8B

Do instructions accompany the forms?

10

Category: Language Assistance: Access for People with Limited English Proficiency

Q#

QUESTION

WEIGHT

TOTAL WEIGHT

ISSUE

% OF CATEGORY

1

Does the state have a process in place to certify court interpreters?

5

15

Certification of interpreters in the courtroom

29%

1a

Is there a statute, rule, or other guidance document requiring the use of certified interpreters when such interpreters are available?

10

2

Is there a statute, rule, or other guidance document requiring courts to provide interpreters for all criminal and civil court proceedings involving limited English proficient individuals?

10

10

Use of interpreters in the courtroom

20%

3a

Do judges receive training in how to work with interpreters?

1

2

Judicial training

4%

3b

If yes, is the training yearly, upon request, new judges only, or other?

1

4a

Is there a statute, rule, or other guidance document requiring courts to maintain the ability to communicate with limited English proficient individuals outside of the courtroom, through the use of interpreters or bilingual staff: at clerks’ counters?

10

11

Communication outside the courtroom

21%

4b

Is there a statute, rule, or other guidance document requiring courts to maintain the ability to communicate with limited English proficient individuals outside of the courtroom, through the use of interpreters or bilingual staff: in self-help centers?

1

5a

Do court staff who have contact with the public receive training on how to communicate with LEP individuals?

5

6

Staff training

12%

5b

If yes, is the training yearly, upon request, new staff only, or other?

1

6a

Does the state judiciary’s web site provide information about the cases and individuals for which courts will provide an interpreter?

1

4

Website

8%

6b

Does the state judiciary’s web site provide information about whether interpreters will be provided free of charge?

1

6c

Does the state judiciary’s web site provide information about how court users can file a complaint regarding court interpreters or other language access problems?

1

6d

Does the state judiciary’s web site provide information in any languages other than English?

1

7a

Does the judiciary translate ‘Instructions to unrepresented litigants’ into languages commonly spoken by litigants?

1

3

Court forms

6%

7b

Does the judiciary translate ‘Court forms’ (e.g. form complaints and motions) into languages commonly spoken by litigants?

1

7c

Does the judiciary translate ‘Form orders’ (e.g. form domestic violence restraining orders) into languages commonly spoken by litigants?

1

Category: Disability Assistance: Access for People with Disabilities

Q#

QUESTION

WEIGHT

TOTAL WEIGHT

ISSUE

% OF CATEGORY

1

Are courts required or allowed to charge deaf or hard of hearing for sign language interpreters?

5

5

Fees for sign language interpreters

16%

2a

State statute, rule, or other guidance requiring courts to use only certified sign language court interpreters?

5

10

Certified sign language interpreters

31%

2b

Are courts required to give preference to sign language interpreters who have training in how to interpret in a legal setting?

5

3a

Does the state judiciary’s web site tell court users how to request an accommodation because of disability or who to contact to request an accommodation?

5

7

Website

22%

3b

Does the state judiciary’s web site tell court users how to file a complaint about difficulty accessing court facilities or services because of disability?

1

3c

Does the state judiciary’s web site tell court users who to contact to file a complaint?

1

4

State statute, rule or other guidance requiring courts to allow service animals?

10

10

Service animals

31%

Justice Index Calculation
The following section describes how the Justice Index is calculated.  An index was created by state for each category of data collected.  The category indices were also consolidated into a single composite index for each state.  All indices are on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 representing less access to justice and 100 representing more access to justice.
1.3.1  Category Indices
A Justice Index was calculated for each category individually, on a scale of 0 to 100. Yes/no responses were converted to numerical values: a value of 1 representing ‘yes’, and 0 representing ‘no’.  For any question where the response was not available, a value of 0 was assigned. For the categories excluding Attorney Access, the converted numerical response was multiplied by the assigned weight resulting in a weighted score for each question. For example: If a question has been assigned a weight of 10 and the response to that question is ‘Yes’, then the weighted score for that question is = 1 x 10 = 10. Within a category, the scores for each question were added together to determine a raw score. The raw score, divided by the maximum possible weighted score, multiplied by 100, determined the index for a particular category. For example: A hypothetical category with 3 questions with the following assigned weights:
QUESTION # WEIGHT
Q1 10
Q2 5
Q3 1
Assuming a ‘yes’ response to each question which indicates greater access to justice, the maximum raw score possible for this category is = (1 x 10) + (1 x 5) + (1 x 1) = 16 If a state had the following responses to the above 3 questions:
QUESTION # RESPONSE WEIGHT
Q1 Yes 10
Q2 No 5
Q3 No 1
The raw score for this state for this category is = (1 x 10) + (0 x 5) + (0 x 1) = 10 The category index for this state is = (10 / 16) x 100 = 62.5 For ‘frequency’ questions, (e.g., “… is the training yearly, upon request, new staff only, or other?”) the following factors were multiplied by the weighted score of the frequency question.
RESPONSE FACTOR
Yearly 1
Upon request 0.7
New staff only 0.5
For the Attorney Access category, the number of civil legal aid attorneys per 10,000 people in poverty was determined from the research phase, and constituted the raw score for this particular category. The NCAJ in consultation with others determined that 25% of the number of attorneys per 10,000 people nationally would provide a usable scale for purposes of aggregating the categories into the composite index. Other scales could have been chosen and this preliminary benchmark may be reviewed and revised based on additional research or discussion. The number of attorneys per 10,000 people nationally, also collected during the research phase, was determined to be approximately 40, 25% of which is 10. The raw score for this category was divided by 10 and multiplied by 100 to calculate the index for this category.
1.3.2  The Composite Index
Each category index was converted into a single composite index, also on a scale of 0 to 100.Each individual category index was weighted equally relative to the other individual category indices for the purposes of producing the composite index. NCAJ made the determination to weight each individual category index equally, while recognizing that additional information may warrant reconsideration of this equal weighting scheme for the categories at some point in the future. The individual category index for each state was added together, and divided by the number of categories to determine the composite justice index. For example: If a State has the following category indices:
CATEGORY CATEGORY INDEX
Category 1 22
Category 2 39
Category 3 65
Category 4 22
Then the composite index for this state is = (22 + 39 + 65 + 22) / 4 = 37
1.4  External Data Citations
Three categories compared the Justice Index to relevant external data sources: Category: Self-Representation http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/statemedian/, Median Household Income by State – Single-Year Estimates: 2012 Category: Language Assistance http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acs-22.pdf, Language Use in the United States: 2011, limited English was defined as “not well” and “not at all” Category: Disability Assistance http://www.disabilitystatistics.org/reports/acs.cfm?statistic=1, U.S. Disability Statistics: 2011

Research on Attorney Access: Number of Lawyers for People in Poverty

Goals of the Research

To increase public understanding of the limited number of civil legal aid attorneys available to represent the large number of people living in poverty in each state, the Justice Index shows the number of these attorneys for every 10,000 people in poverty in each state. To put the number in context, the Justice Index also shows the number of all attorneys per 10,000 people (“not in poverty”) in each state.”

Overall Methodology
Researchers investigated and determined:
  • the number of civil legal aid attorneys in each state, relying on the methodology described below;
  • the number of people in each state living at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level based on census data, available here.
  • the number of attorneys in each state in 2012 and 2013 using data available from the ABA, available here ; and
  • the number of people in each state based on census data, relying on 2011 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, supra.
Research to determine the number of civil legal aid lawyers in each state was prompted by consideration of the following sources:
Criteria for Counting Civil Legal Aid
The Justice Index determined the number of civil legal aid attorneys in each state by counting attorneys employed by organizations providing direct representation and assistance in civil legal matters to low-income residents.  The researchers counted attorneys only in organizations that condition provision of their services on a requirement that prospective clients have income beneath a designated financial cut-off level. Many of the counted organizations, including LSC-funded organizations, set this financial cut-off level at 125 per cent of the federal poverty guidelines.  Some set their cut-off levels higher, for example, at 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. The Justice Index did not count attorneys in organizations that:
  • only refer cases to volunteer attorneys
  • primarily pursue impact litigation
  • primarily focus on policy reform
  • are clinics staffed by students
  • do not condition eligibility on financial need.
In excluding from the Justice Index those attorneys in organizations that do not take into account financial need, the NCAJ considered the following:  First, while some such organizations serve a largely indigent population, data was not consistently available to verify the number of their clients with low incomes. Second, in carrying out the first Justice Index attempt at evaluating legal services available to the poor, it seemed appropriate to focus on counting attorneys within organizations that define their missions as serving that population.
Method of Identifying and Contacting Civil Legal Aid Programs
Researchers relied on the internet to identify civil legal aid organizations in each state, and also emailed civil legal aid leaders who helped identify more civil legal aid organizations. Once researchers identified the organizations, they attempted to contact each one personally – either by phone or email – to determine the number of full-time equivalent attorneys employed to provide direct representation to individuals. The researchers attempted to contact each organization two to three times, while also reviewing the organizations’ web sites and informational brochures, which sometimes contained information about the number of attorneys in the organizations. Researchers also determined the amount of funding available in each state to support the provision of direct legal services to people living in poverty. They used this additional financial data to help corroborate the accuracy of the number of civil legal aid lawyers counted for each state. Where the amount of funding available was inconsistent with the number of attorneys counted, the team redoubled its research efforts. Roughly five percent of the organizations identified by researchers did not respond to repeated inquiries. Thus, the data presented in the Justice Index does not account for the presence of attorneys working in these organizations.
Timing of the research
Researchers conducted this survey twice: once in the fall of 2012 and again in the spring of 2013. For organizations that provided data in the first round of data collection in the fall, the researchers confirmed their numbers in the spring. For those that did not, the researchers again attempted to obtain their attorney-employment figures in the spring. In doing so, researchers found that many legal aid organizations lost significant funding and, consequently, attorney staff between the two rounds of data collection. In light of the possibility that available revenues have continued to change, Justice Index users are cautioned that the number of attorneys may also have changed since the spring of 2013 when the last Justice Index survey was conducted.
The Data
The Justice Index presents the number of civil legal aid attorneys in each state, and also presents the names of the specific civil legal aid organizations included in the count.
The Researchers
Laura Abel, Deputy Director of NCAJ (2012-2013), guided the design of the research. Mondi Basmenji, an attorney at Skadden Arps serving pro bono, headed the research team. The following people participated as members of the team:
  • Laura Abel, Deputy Director NCAJ (2012-13)
  • Mondi Basmenji, Associate, Skadden Arps
  • Tina Bonanno, Associate Director, UBS Financial Services, Inc.
  • Jessica Hermo, Assistant General Counsel, UBS Financial Services Inc.
  • Melinda Hightower, Associate, Skadden Arps
  • Annie Naughton, Paralegal, UBS Financial Services, Inc.
  • Silki Patel, J.D. Candidate, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Alexandria Robertson, J.D. Candidate, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Barbara Ruthman, Administrative Assistant, UBS Financial Services, Inc.
  • Edward Sittler, Legal Assistant, Skadden Arps
  • Jane Trueper, J.D. Candidate, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Research on Self-Representation: Support for Self-Represented Litigants

Goals of the Research

To increase public understanding of the support for self represented litigants in civil legal matters, the Justice Index reports on the existence of systems of support in each state.

Overall Methodology
To accomplish the goals of the research, researchers:
  • reviewed state court websites
  • contacted state court administrators
  • surveyed secondary sources, and
  • reviewed state access to justice sites.
The “response detail” tab of the Justice Index contains information describing the specific resources used to establish the presence or absence of systems for self-represented litigants. The “response detail” also identifies, as appropriate, people contacted with respect to each of the questions researched, and the questions themselves. The team researched the following questions on a state-by-state basis:
  1. Is there a person or office in the state court system responsible for initiatives pertaining to unrepresented people?
  2. Is there a statute, rule of professional conduct, or other guidance document authorizing the provision of unbundled or limited scope legal services?
    • a. If yes, in what types of cases?
    • b. If yes, do judges receive training on this subject?
    • ___ yearly ___ upon request ___ new judges only ___ other (describe)
  3. Is there a statute, rule of judicial conduct, or other guidance document authorizing or encouraging judges to take steps to ensure that unrepresented people are fairly heard?
    • a. If yes, what types of steps, in what types of cases?
    • b. If yes, do judges receive training on this subject?
    • ___ yearly ___ upon request ___ new judges only ___ other (describe)
  4. Is there a statute, rule or other guidance document instructing court staff to provide informational assistance to unrepresented persons?
    • a. If yes, do court staff receive training on this subject?
    • ___ yearly ___ upon request ___ new staff only ___ other (describe)
  5. Does the state provide (or do the courts allocate) funding for court-based programs (self-help centers or other structures) to assist unrepresented people?
  6. Is there a statute, rule, or other guidance document requiring that websites, electronic filing systems and other advanced technology used by courts be accessible to unrepresented people?
    • a. If yes, do court staff receive training on this subject?
    • ___ yearly ___ upon request ___ new staff only ___ other (describe)
    • b. If yes, is there a person or entity charged with monitoring or ensuring compliance with the statute, rule or guidance document? If so, who?
  7. Is there a statute, rule or other document establishing the obligation of the court to communicate with people who have little or low literacy in one or more types of cases?
    • a. If yes, does it require important materials to be written in plain English or at a particular reading level?
    • b. If yes, does it provide for the use of audio or video recordings to communicate important information to people with low literacy?
    • c. If yes, does it provide for judges to use plain English when communicating verbally with unrepresented people?
    • d. If yes, is there a person or entity charged with monitoring or ensuring compliance with the statute, rule or guidance document? If so, who?
    • e. If yes, do court staff and judges receive training on this subject?
    • ___ yearly ___ upon request ___ new judges and staff only ___ other (describe)
  8. Does the state court website have the following features:
    • a. Are forms available on the website? If so, in which case types?
    • b. Does the state court website link to local forms?
    • c. Are courts required to accept the forms?
    • d. Are attorneys and parties required to use the forms?
Research to determine the quality of assistance provided to self represented litigants was prompted by consideration of the following sources:
Criteria for Validating Data
After completion of the initial data collection for each state, researchers who were not involved in the initial data collection reviewed and validated the collected data for accuracy. After this validation process, the validation team reviewed the data by checking citations and repeating the searches where the initial data collector had indicated that no sources were found.
Timing of the research
The researchers collected data beginning in the fall of 2012 and continuing through the summer of 2013. The researchers validated the collected data in the fall of 2013. Justice Index visitors are reminded that states may implement new or modified policies and procedures on an ongoing basis.
The Data
The Justice Index Self Represented Litigants Resource tab provides a visualization of the data collected by the Self Represented Litigants Research Team.
The Researchers
Laura Abel, deputy director of NCAJ (2013-2014), guided the design of the research. Erin Simmons, an attorney at Skadden Arps serving pro bono, led the research team. The team was comprised of additional attorneys and staff from Skadden Arps, law students from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, and attorneys and support staff from UBS.

Research on Language Assistance: Support for Litigants with Limited English Proficiency

Goals of the Research

To increase public understanding of the importance of assuring access to justice for people with limited English proficiency (“LEP people”), the Justice Index presents data on the presence in state courts of such key systems as reliance on “certified” interpreters” and the provision of court forms translated into languages other than English.

Overall Methodology
Justice Index researchers:
  • reviewed laws in each state with respect to the research questions;
  • reviewed state judiciary websites dedicated to access to the justice system for LEP Individuals;
  • communicated with state officials responsible for overseeing the ability of LEP Individuals to access the justice system;
  • determined, based on census data, the number of people in each state that had a limited ability to speak English; and
  • determined, based on census data, the total population for each state.
In determining whether a state provides meaningful access to the courts for LEP people, our researchers collected data on the following questions:
  1. Does the state have a process in place to certify court interpreters?
  2. Is there a statute, rule, or other guidance document requiring the use of certified interpreters when such interpreters are available? Is there a statute, rule, or other guidance document requiring courts to provide interpreters for all criminal and civil court proceedings involving limited English proficient individuals?
  3. Do judges receive training in how to work with interpreters? If yes, is the training yearly, upon request, new judges only, or other?
  4. Is there a statute, rule, or other guidance document requiring courts to maintain the ability to communicate with limited English proficient individuals outside of the courtroom, through the use of interpreters or bilingual staff: at clerks’ counters?
  5. Is there a statute, rule, or other guidance document requiring courts to maintain the ability to communicate with limited English proficient individuals outside of the courtroom, through the use of interpreters or bilingual staff: in self-help centers?
  6. Do court staff who have contact with the public receive training on how to communicate with LEP individuals? If yes, is the training yearly, upon request, new staff only, or other?
  7. Does the state judiciary’s web site provide information about the cases and individuals for which courts will provide an interpreter?
  8. Does the state judiciary’s web site provide information about whether interpreters will be provided free of charge?
  9. Does the state judiciary’s web site provide information about how court users can file a complaint regarding court interpreters or other language access problems?
  10. Does the state judiciary’s web site provide information in any languages other than English?
  11. Does the judiciary translate ‘Instructions to unrepresented litigants’ into languages commonly spoken by litigants?
  12. Does the judiciary translate ‘Court forms’ (e.g. form complaints and motions) into languages commonly spoken by litigants?
  13. Does the judiciary translate ‘Form orders’ (e.g. form domestic violence restraining orders) into languages commonly spoken by litigants?
Research to determine systems for providing language assistance services to LEP persons in state based justice systems was prompted by consideration of the following sources:
Criteria for Validating Data
Data gathered by the researchers was populated into the Justice Index in response to the questions, indicating, as applicable, the presence of:
  1. a state statute, rule or policy
  2. a state web site with information responsive to the research questions, or
  3. an email or phone communication from state officials responsive to the questions.
If researchers obtained no information responsive to a question, the answer was reported as a negative. Because the purpose of this portion of the index is to determine whether LEP persons have reasonable access to the justice system, NCAJ decided that it would be appropriate to treat inability to locate responsive information as the effective equivalent to a negative response.
Counterintuitive Nature of Some Index Findings
Data in the Justice Index is selective, not comprehensive, and some inferences from the data may as a result be counterintuitive. For instance, the research questions largely focus on the general issue of whether there is a statewide law, rule or policy in place to ensure that LEP Individuals are able to access the justice system in the state. Of course, this focus marks the beginning of an important inquiry, not its end. Thus, a state that has been subject to regulatory scrutiny arising from its treatment of LEP persons may have established statutes and a formal infrastructure allowing the state to obtain a high score in the Justice Index, even if implementation of the new requirements on the ground remains lacking. In contrast, a state that has been effective in providing actual access to the courts for LEP persons may not have a formal infrastructure in place and may therefore score lower on the Justice Index despite its effective provision of language access services. These issues are qualitative in nature, and further research is recommended for readers of the Justice Index to gain a more definitive understanding of justice system performance.
Timing of the research
The data was gathered beginning in the fall of 2012 and continuing into the spring of 2013.
The Data
The Justice Index includes the data gathered in response to the questions, as well as the underlying sources of the data. Laura Abel, former deputy director of NCAJ (2012-2013), guided the design of the research. Megan Bombick, Bill Bossin and Sarah Pierce, attorneys at Skadden Arps serving pro bono, jointly headed the research team. Law students from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and attorneys and support staff from UBS assisted as researchers.

Research on Disability Assistance: Support for People with Disabilities

Goals of the Research

People who have difficulty hearing or seeing, people with mental impairments, and people with emotional or other kinds of disabilities, may require assistance to participate in the justice system. The Justice Index reports on systems intended to assure people with disabilities a fair opportunity to be heard.

Overall Methodology
After an initial session during which the team members and team leader reviewed and considered possible areas of research, each team member conducted research on one or two of the identified areas to determine if further research was warranted and possible. The team members determined whether there were national organizations that had done research on each issue and, where possible, identified applicable national standards and state-specific data on compliance with those standards. All research on this topic was done via the internet or other printed sources. No interviews were conducted. Sources included court websites and the statutes and regulations of each state. The specific resources that were used in respect to each of the questions the team reviewed are identified in the “Response Detail” tab of the Justice Index. The team researched the following questions on a state-by-state basis:
  1. Are courts required or allowed to charge deaf or hard of hearing for sign language interpreters?
  2. Certification of sign language interpreters a. Is there a State statute, rule, or other guidance requiring courts to use only certified sign language court interpreters? b. Are courts required to give preference to sign language interpreters who have training in how to interpret in a legal setting?
  3. Does the state judiciary’s web site tell court users: a. How to request an accommodation because of disability or who to contact to request an accommodation? b. How to file a complaint about difficulty accessing court facilities or services because of disability? c. Who to contact to file a complaint?
  4. Is there a State statute, rule or other guidance requiring courts to allow service animals?
Research to determine systems for assuring access to courts for people with disabilities was prompted by consideration of the following sources:
  • National Association of the Deaf, Communication Access in State and Local Courts (2008)
  • Debbie Howells et al., Court Web Site Disability Access (National Center for State Courts 2008)
  • Dave Yanchulis, Achieving Accessible Courthouses, Building Safety Journal (2007)
  • U.S. Access Board, Justice for All: Designing Accessible Courthouses (2006)
  • Mark Van Bever, Implementing the Americans With Disabilities Act in a Trial Court (National Center for State Courts 2002)
  • Western Law Center for Disability Rights et al., Access to the Courts: A Guide to Reasonable Accommodations for People With Disabilities (2d ed. 2003).
  • Jo Williams, Communication Accessibility in the Courts (National Center for State Courts 2002)
Criteria for Validating Data
Researchers discussed the progress of the work on a weekly basis to help ensure consistency and accuracy of work carried out by different individuals.
Timing of the research
The team collected data beginning in spring 2013. An additional review was conducted in fall 2013.
The Data
The Justice Index Access for Persons with Disabilities tab offers a visualization of the data collected by the Access for Persons with Disabilities Research Team.
The Researchers
Laura Abel, deputy director of NCAJ (2012-2013) and co-teacher of the Access to Justice Clinic at Cardozo School of Law (Spring 2013), guided the design of the research and the effectuation of the research plan. Law students in the Access to Justice Clinic carried out the research. Attorneys at Skadden Arps, serving pro bono, validated portions of the research and added citations.