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Access to Justice Program

The New Mexico Commission on Access to Justice was created in 2004 to expand resources for civil legal assistance to New Mexicans living in poverty.

The Commission prioritizes making sure all New Mexicans have access to help for essential civil legal needs such as family law, housing, consumer, employment, and government benefits.

Click here for a copy of the Supreme Court Order creating the Commission.

New Mexico’s Commission is one of 34 Access to Justice Commissions across the United States. More information about other state and national initives are can be found here.

 

The Commission's Work to Date

 

Assessment of Legal Needs

Following its creation in 2004, the Commission used three different methods to identify and quantify the unmet legal needs in New Mexico:

  • Analyzed studies in other states about the civil legal problems faced by low income individuals and the Justice Gap study conducted by the Legal Services Corporation
  • Surveyed major New Mexico legal aid providers; and
  • Held hearings around the state to collect testimony about legal needs from the public, legal aid providers, social service agencies, court officials, judges, and lawyers.

The Ten Step Pro Bono Plan

The Commission’s 2006 Report to the Supreme Court summarizes the results of these efforts and sets forth the Commission’s recommendations, including adoption of “The New Mexico Ten Step Plan for Improving Access to Justice” (the Ten Step or Pro Bono Plan).

See here for information about Commission's pro bono work.

State Plan for the Provision of Legal Services to Low-Income New Mexicans

An ongoing responsibility of the Commission is for the updating, implementation and ongoing development of a State Plan for the Provision of Legal Services to Low-Income New Mexicans that reduces barriers to their access to justice, ensures appropriate services are maximally available, guides allocation of resources, and provides accountability. Every several years, the State Plan is revised to reflect new priorities. Moreover, each new Plan challenges all stakeholders to rededicate themselves to the Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Initiative goal of access to the civil legal system for all low-income New Mexicans. The current version is the 2014 State Plan.