The Social, Geographic, and Organizational Determinants of Access to Civil Legal Aid Services: An Argument for an Integrated Access to Justice Model

By: Eric W. Schultheis. Published in: Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. Published on July 21, 2014

Link to article

The abstract reads: “I propose an integrated method for evaluating the accessibility of civil legal aid services, one that is able to simultaneously account for spatial, social, and organizational accessibility determinants. Specifically, I use this study to empirically evaluate several core assumptions of accessibility research. First, I challenge the argument that gaps in the accessibility of civil legal aid services are driven by spatial mismatches and/or disconnects between supply and demand. Although these two factors are important, they only provide a partial explanation of the observed variation in the accessibility of civil legal aid services. Second, I challenge the commonplace assumption in accessibility research that the effects of accessibility determinants, including the spatial relationship between client and provider location, are consistent across social and geographic space. In addition to raising these issues, I also propose and develop a hierarchical linear model that attempts to bridge methodological approaches that limit our understanding of the interactions of the spatial, social, and organizational dimensions of civil legal aid services accessibility . Perhaps most importantly, the proposed accessibility model begins to offer providers novel insights into how to better allocate program resources to best serve their client population.”

Categories: General/Unspecified Clients, National, Researchers and Academics

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