Economic benefits from civil legal aid

September 20, 2012 at 10:13 pm Leave a comment

My fellow bloger Richard Zorza from the inspirational accesstojustice.net blog has brought to my attention a succinct depiction of the direct and indirect benefits of civil legal aid. The analysis has been prepared by the Laura K. Abel from the National Center for Access to Justice at Cardozo Law School. Briefly, the value of civil legal aid delivered to people who cannot afford to procure legal services from the free market comes to:

– Savings of public money by reduction of domestic violence. Requests for protective orders within the serviced area fall by 35.2%. Less public money is spent on medical care, special education for affected children and police and prisons resources devoted to perpetrators;

– Savings of public money by helping children leave foster care more quickly. “In Washington State, the rate at which children were reunited with their parents was 11% higher when the parents were represented by lawyers whose caseloads were kept to a manageable level than when the parents were represented by high-volume contract attorneys.”;

– Savings of public money by reducing evictions. Tenants who are represented are significantly more likely to retain possession. In 2009-2010 New York state saved $116 million in shelter costs’;

– Savings of public money by protecting patients’ health. Civil legal aid helped patients of asthma improve their housing conditions which allowed them to stop taking steroids for about 6 months. Others were helped with health insurance, disability benefits or alleviation of health-related job discrimination;

– Savings through helping low-income people participate in safety-net programs. In 2011 the federal benefits awarded to beneficiaries of civil legal aid totalled to $348 million.

Download the Economic Benefits of Civil Legal Aid from here

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Entry filed under: Access to Justice, Access to Justice Funding, Costs of justice, Impact Assessment, USA.

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