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Administrative Office Divisions - Access to Justice Division

(312) 793-2914

Alison Spanner, Assistant Director

The Illinois Supreme Court established the Access to Justice Division to improve access to the civil justice system. The Access to Justice Division's objective is to help the legal system efficiently deliver outcomes that are fair and accessible to all court users, particularly to those who are low-income and vulnerable. This work is informed by the principles of eliminating barriers that prevent people from understanding and exercising their legal rights, ensuring fair outcomes for all parties and increasing efficiencies to avoid waste and duplication. The Access to Justice Division staff work with the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice and with other civil justice system stakeholders to increase access to legal assistance and to improve the justice delivery systems that serve people who are unable to afford lawyers.

The Access to Justice Division pursues strategies to leverage and better allocate limited resources. The Division's current priorities are to:

  1. Work with the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice Forms Committee to promulgate statewide standardized forms for simpler civil legal problems and basic procedural functions;
  2. Provide language access services and support to assist state courts in addressing language barriers and improve interpreter services;
  3. Develop training materials and education programs for courts, clerks and other judicial stakeholders to assist with interacting with self-represented litigants;
  4. Expand statewide civil justice data collection, research and analysis to aid in the development of innovative strategies to close the gap between the need for and the availability of quality legal assistance;
  5. Monitor emerging local, state and national best practices and trends in the civil justice arena, including less lawyer-intensive and court-intensive solutions to certain legal problems; and
  6. Develop and evaluate the impact of specialized procedures for different types of civil cases.

The Access to Justice Division partners with and provides support to the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice. The Access to Justice Division is the newest division of the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts, and was formed in January 2014.