Court-Appointment Compensation and Rural Access to Justice
14 University of St. Thomas Journal of Law & Public Policy 88 (2020)
43 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2020 Last revised: 25 Jan 2021
Date Written: July 30, 2020
Hourly rates paid to court-appointed lawyers impact access to justice. Court-appointed lawyers provide necessary counsel in civil and criminal cases, yet hourly rates in many jurisdictions are so low that many lawyers cannot afford to take court-appointed cases. This article argues that low hourly rates cause problems: namely, appointed lawyers will be insufficient in number, inaccessible to their clients, and sometimes even ineffective. These problems are heightened in rural America where they are compounded by the geography of distance and the rural lawyer shortage. This article concludes by suggesting a number of policy solutions.
Keywords: appointed counsel, rural lawyer shortage, access to justice
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