Welcome to the Justice Index, an online resource illuminating the degree to which each US state has adopted selected best policies for ensuring access to justice for all people. In six component indexes -- Attorney Access Index, Self-Representation Access Index, Language Access Index, Disability Access Index, Fines and Fees Index, and Consumer Debt Litigation Index -- NCAJ has identified laws and practices that entitle people to rely on the legal system for justice and has also scored and ranked the states based on research that shows the degree to which the states have adopted those laws and practices. We make our findings visible online to increase public understanding of the policies that matter to fairness, and to create a platform that encourages adoption of these best policies in every state.
Scores & Rankings:
Within the Justice Index's six component indexes, in data visualizations titled Compare State Scores that are specific to each index, NCAJ scores the states on a scale of 0 to 100, ranks them in reliance on their scores, and makes it possible for everyone to see how each state performed relative to other states. In a separate data visualization titled Benchmarks: Weights & Trends, visitors learn about the degree to which the selected best policies are being adopted across the country. And, in a third data visualization, titled Benchmarks by State, visitors can see how these policies are being replicated in other states, and can also obtain citations to the best policies in states in which they have been adopted. To dive more deeply into NCAJ's scoring, rankings and findings, and to consider NCAJ's vision for the Justice Index, check out our essays: Methodology, About the Justice Index and What is Access to Justice?
In the Compare State Scores data visualization on this page (below), the Justice Index enables visitors to the website to consider the overall (or, average) ranking of each state when scores in multiple index categories are combined together. The newer findings in the Fines and Fees Index and in the Consumer Debt Litigation Index have not been automatically factored into Justice Index overall rankings because these two policy areas are different in kind than the other four (attorney access, self help, language access, disability access) -- that is, they are less about access, and more about rooting abuse and oppression out from the justice system. However, it is easy to view how these newer findings influence the overall rankings by selecting either or both of the two check boxes provided for this purpose (located below Compare State Scores).
The policies, scores, and rankings contained in the Justice Index support efforts to increase the fairness of the legal system in every state -- including the state (or states) most important to you. The findings are routinely relied on by advocates, officials, scholars, reporters, and other stakeholders. At the heart of the access to justice movement, we must insist on fair laws and practices. With the Justice Index findings in hand, you can learn about your state's progress in adopting best policies, support your state in its efforts to do better, and hold your state accountable to the laws and practices it has already adopted. We invite you to explore and to use the Justice Index findings including those in NCAJ's new (in 2024) Consumer Debt Litigation Index (check out our 2024 press release).