What is the Access to Justice Commission (ATJC)?
The ATJC is an independent entity with 20 appointed Commissioners who work to create solutions for those who lack the information, tools, and services necessary to resolve their civil legal problems fairly, quickly, and economically. It unites civil justice leaders statewide to drive local and systemic reforms and innovate solutions to inequities in accessing the civil justice system.
Civil Legal Issues
Civil legal matters affect every aspect of our lives, like housing, divorce, child custody, consumer rights, health care, insurance, debt collection, employment, government benefits, domestic violence, personal injury and more.
The barriers Coloradans face in accessing the civil justice system are continuously evolving. To ensure its work is relevant and meaningful, the ATJC has historically brought stakeholders together through statewide needs assessments to collaboratively plan and strategize.
Technological tools - like virtual proceedings, virtual legal aid clinics, and chatrooms with court staff - have revolutionized the concept of access to civil justice. The ATJC is working to preserve, enhance, and expand advancements like these. It also focuses on innovating new solutions, like systems that help litigants file paperwork online, and web platforms that direct litigants to the services they need.
One of the most obvious challenges to fairness in civil legal matters is the inability to hire a lawyer. One of our central objectives is to increase the number of lawyers that offer free or affordable legal help statewide. The ATJC advocates for funding for legal services, recruits and supports attorneys dedicated to pro bono work, supports legal aid clinics, unbundled legal help, and limited scope representation.
Many legal issues could be resolved without an attorney, but litigants still face barriers in resolving them. The ATJC works closely with the Colorado Courts on initiatives like creating simple and understandable forms, instructions, and procedures, developing a library of easily-accessible online self-help resources, and addressing issues like language, literacy, and public awareness that prevent many litigants from effectively representing themselves.
People with limited English language proficiency are already among the most marginalized populations in Colorado because of the barrier this presents in accessing all services. The ATJC continuously works to improve and increase access to interpreters and translated written materials.
with Executive Director
What is the Access to Justice Commission (ATJC) and what do they do? Their new Executive Director, Elisa Marie Overall — also known as Emo — shares about the ATJC. Emo describes the important work of local committees across the state and sheds light on the many barriers to access to justice that too many Coloradoans are still facing.
This episode also features Gail Rodosevich, the Pro Bono Coordinator for Colorado Legal Services in Pueblo and the Chair of the Access to Justice Committee for the 10th JD.
Listen and Learn Tour
Justice Melissa Hart is leading the ATJC's statewide tour to learn from a wide range of community stakeholders, about the barriers they and their clients face in accessing the civil justice system. The tour began in March of 2021 and will continue through the Summer and Fall.
We are always seeking new partners, allies and volunteers. We also welcome ideas for increasing our impact on access to justice in Colorado. Please reach out to us at:
1290 Broadway, Ste. 1700
Denver, CO 80203