Obligation Ignored: Why International Law Requires the United States to Provide Adequate Civil Legal Aid, What the United States is Doing Instead, and How Legal Empowerment Can Help

Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, Vol. 20, 2011

37 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2012 Last revised: 31 Jul 2012

Zach Zarnow

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

This Comment argues that to comply with international law, the United States should abandon Lassiter v. Department of Social Services’ reasoning and reform and fully fund the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Part II explores international sources of a right to civil legal aid and the failures of the United States to realize that right. Part III argues that the United States is failing to meet its international legal duty to provide adequate civil legal aid, as evidenced by the shortcomings of the LSC and the Supreme Court’s Lassiter decision. Part IV recommends that, to meet its international obligations while avoiding the problems of the current indigent criminal defense scheme, the United States should implement a system that utilizes legal services professionals instead of exclusively relying upon lawyers, drawing on practices from the international development model of legal empowerment of the poor (LEP).

Keywords: Law, Legal Empowerment, Civil Legal Aid, International Law, Human Rights, Civil Rights

JEL Classification: K00, K33, K40, H50, I30, K39

Suggested Citation

Zarnow, Zach, Obligation Ignored: Why International Law Requires the United States to Provide Adequate Civil Legal Aid, What the United States is Doing Instead, and How Legal Empowerment Can Help (2011). Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, Vol. 20, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2090054

Zach Zarnow (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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