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Fifteenth Annual Arthur Liman Colloquium

Accessing Justice, Rationing Law
March 1-2, 2012

Yale Law School

Most state constitutions guarantee “open courts” and rights to remedies. Further, in 1963, Gideon v. Wainwright established a constitutional right to counsel for indigent defendants facing felony charges. Implementation of these rights, however, remains elusive. A 2004 report on criminal counsel by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid & Indigent Defendants reached “the disturbing conclusion that thousands of persons are processed through America’s courts every year either with no lawyer at all or with a lawyer who does not have the time, resources, or in some cases the inclination to provide effective representation.” On the civil side, California counted 4.3 million civil litigants without lawyers in its courts in 2009; New York tallied more than 2 million in 2010, and that number includes almost all facing evictions and 95 percent of those in family conflicts.

For its fifteenth anniversary, the Liman Colloquium will take up an overarching question for the twenty-first century: how can courts respond to the demand for their services? The issues include providing adequate representation to criminal defendants, the right to “civil Gideon” for people unable to afford lawyers, and what role, if any, alternative processes and new kinds of courts may play in addressing these challenges. Joining the conversation will be current and former chief justices from several states as well as scholars, students, practitioners, and many of our Liman Fellows. Click here to see the schedule.