Frequently Asked Questions: Access to Justice

Why is ensuring equal access to the justice system so important?

Equal justice for all is a cornerstone of our democratic system, and must extend to all people, including vulnerable and poor people who are unable, without help, to assert, protect or defend their civil legal rights. Development of a fully integrated system to meet the civil equal justice needs of low income and vulnerable people is essential to ensuring equal justice for all, and is a primary goal of the Washington State Access to Justice Network.

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What is the Washington State Access to Justice Network?

The Washington State Access to Justice Network is a model public-private partnership dedicated to making the civil justice system open and available to all, including Washington State’s nearly 1.2 million low-income residents. The Network is dedicated to making real the promise carved into the marble to the United States Supreme Court building:


The Access to Justice Network consists of a wide variety of public-private institutions and organizations, including the following:

  • Access to Justice Board
  • Area Agencies on Aging
  • Civil Legal Services Providers
  • Columbia Legal Services
  • Council on Public Legal Education
  • Court Clerks and Administrators
  • Courthouse Facilitators
  • Dispute Resolution Community
  • Domestic Violence Advocates
  • Equal Justice Coalition
  • Funders of Civil Legal Services Providers
  • Human and Social Services Providers
  • King County Bar Foundation
  • Law Libraries
  • Law Schools
  • Legal Aid for Washington (LAW) Fund
  • Legal Foundation of Washington
  • Local, Specialty and Minority Bar Associations
  • Northwest Justice Project
  • Paralegal Associations
  • Paralegal Training Programs
  • Pierce County Bar Foundation
  • Tribal Justice Systems
  • Washington State Administrative Law Judges
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Washington State Bar Association Pro Bono and Legal Aid Committee
  • Washington State Judiciary
  • Washington State Supreme Court

Individually, and in partnership with one another, these institutions and organizations work to ensure that low income individuals and families have timely and meaningful access to legal information and services necessary to allow them to assert, defend and enforce important personal legal rights and prerogatives.

The Washington State Access to Justice Network enjoys broad-based, bipartisan and community support, including support from business and religious leaders, law enforcement officials and health care providers.

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What is the Washington State Access to Justice Board?

The Access to Justice (ATJ) Board was established by the Washington State Supreme Court in 1994 at the request of the Washington State Bar Association Board of Governors in response to a growing need to coordinate the access to justice efforts in Washington State to provide continuity and focus. Its mission is to ensure access for low and moderate income residents of Washington State to the civil justice system through high quality legal services. Among other responsibilities, it oversees the implementation of the Washington State Plan and coordinates statewide technology initiatives. 

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Washington State has an innovative and integrated civil legal services delivery system which is designed to provide a full range of legal services to the broadest spectrum of clients who need legal assistance.

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How can I support Access to Justice in Washington State?

There is a growing access to justice “movement” in Washington State. Those who share a common vision vision of “justice for all” are giving their time, their talent, and their financial support to make this vision a reality. There is much to do. Learn how you can support access to justice in Washington State.

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