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Civil Legal Assistance

Authors

Colette Stanzler

Colleen Kaman

Anne Radday

Partner

Fidelity Charitable

The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation

Published

2012

Summary

Civil legal assistance describes the services and interventions that ensure equality before the law for at-risk individuals. Such services can improve individuals’ awareness of their rights and help ensure their basic needs are met.

Read our civil legal assistance Social Issue Report, which includes: an overview of the social issue, an investment recommendation, information on the return on investment, and ways to take further action.

Equality before the law is a constitutional right, and includes access to a lawyer in most criminal cases. Yet despite the ubiquity of civil legal needs, many do not have equal access to the civil justice system. Providing civil legal assistance to those who cannot afford it requires an increased attention to early intervention and integration of the private and nonprofit sectors.

Civil legal assistance describes the services and interventions that ensure equality before the law for at-risk individuals. Such services can improve individuals’ awareness of their rights and help ensure their basic needs are met. These include safe housing, protection from abusive relationships, assistance in child custody disputes, and relief from financial exploitation.

Learn more about civil legal assistance in Massachusetts and New York.

Check out our Guide to Giving for donors and funders interested in civil legal assistance.

 

ABOUT SOCIAL ISSUE RESEARCH:

Social Issue Research (SIR) reports are a resource to help donors and funders learn about specific social issues affecting at-risk populations and identify high-performing organizations that are addressing those issues. Drawing on research and interviews with experts representing government, academia, nonprofits, and foundations, social issue reports provide an overview of the issue, populations affected by it, approaches to address it, and investment recommendations on how donors and funders can take action. The report is complemented by state reports that frame the issue in the local context and a method – a guide for donors – that provides criteria to evaluate organizations working to address the issue.

Table of Contents:

  • Social Issue Report Summary
  • Providing Access to Civil Legal Assistance
  • Social Issue Overview: Why Civil Legal Assistance Matters
  • Approaches to Civil Legal Assistance
  • Return on Investment
  • Investment Recommendation
  • Take Action
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