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Stanford Law Review Online

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legal services, civil justice, low-income litigants


Civil Law | Civil Rights and Discrimination | Law


The lack of resources available to assist low-income litigants as they navigate the legal system has been widely documented. In the civil context- where a majority of cases involve eviction, debt collection, and family matters--various solutions have been offered to address the problem. These include expanding the civil right to counsel; increasing funding for civil legal aid; providing for greater availability and accessibility of self-help services; adopting a more flexible approach to the provision of legal services (including, for example, unbundled and limited legal services options); scaling back unauthorized-practice-of-law regulation and allowing for higher utilization of other service providers; and placing an emphasis on active judging. The range of possible reforms spans the supply-demand divide: Some focus on external resources, often in the form of increased lawyer provision, while others focus on procedural and judicial reforms Yet another option is the creation of rights that would provide a stronger foundation for legal advocacy, such as a right to housing.



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