WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Joe Biden signed an executive order today calling on the federal government to expand access to legal representation and the courts with a focus on ensuring access for lower income individuals. The order directs the U.S. Department of Justice to outline how it will expand access to justice and re-establishes the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable to identify ways to address challenges facing legal services organizations and access. In November, Public Citizen laid out a blueprint for the administration on expanding access to the civil justice system. Remington A. Gregg, counsel for civil justice and consumer rights for Public Citizen, released the following statement:
“The initial steps in this executive order are important. We look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to ensure that access to justice remains a top priority. In addition to ensuring legal aid for low-income people, the administration should create a permanent White House office focused on access to justice and consumer issues.
“Corporate America, the U.S. Supreme Court, and even Congress have chipped away at people’s ability to seek justice in the courts. As a result, too many people have the courthouse doors slammed in their face. We must ensure that individuals who have been cheated, scammed, or discriminated against have access to quality legal representation. Restoring and expanding peoples’ access to the civil justice system is not only in furtherance of the president’s campaign’s promise to strengthen ‘America’s commitment to justice,’ but is essential to fulfilling the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to bringing greater equality and equity to society.”