Skip Navigation

Access to the Courts

Everyone should be afforded equal access to our justice system. We are conducting research and creating policy solutions to promote equitable access to the courts, even amid the Covid-19 pandemic.


All people deserve a fair day in court. Yet, race, income level, gender, and immig­ra­tion status can pose hurdles to equal parti­cip­a­tion in court, while as many as 90 percent of civil litig­ants in some states lack access to an attor­ney.

Such dispar­it­ies have been exacer­bated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Social distan­cing require­ments have forced federal, state, and local courts to switch to virtual proceed­ings. Millions of people await their date in court, includ­ing thou­sands who are currently detained or incar­cer­ated. However, little is known about the implic­a­tions of virtual proceed­ings for access to justice, espe­cially for margin­al­ized communit­ies.

The Bren­nan Center works to ensure equit­able access to the courts by track­ing courts’ responses to Covid-19, research­ing the impact of tech­no­logy on access to justice, advoc­at­ing for a halt to ICE court­house arrests, and devel­op­ing new policy solu­tions.