About the Commission

The Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission was established in 2014 by order of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and charged with developing and implementing policies that expand access to and enhance the quality of justice in civil legal matters for low-income Oklahomans.

“Access to justice” describes the ability of any person, regardless of income, to use the justice system to solve common legal problems and advocate for themselves and their interests.

Oklahomans turn to the civil justice system when they face life-changing challenges such as domestic violence, child custody disputes, eviction, discrimination, consumer debt, or the loss of support from programs such as health care, disability, or veterans’ benefits. Unlike the criminal justice system, there is no right to an attorney in civil justice matters.

The civil legal system is complex and difficult to navigate without the help of an attorney. When people represent themselves in court, filing fees, procedural rules, and confusion about the law are barriers to fair and just outcomes.

About one in five Oklahomans qualify for free civil legal assistance. Unfortunately, more than half of those seeking help must be turned away due to a lack of funding.

Every Oklahoman should have equal access to the justice system, regardless of where they live, who they are, or how much money they make. Ensuring equal access to the legal system protects the most vulnerable members of our community, while promoting a strong economy, public safety, and fairness for all.

The Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission includes members from the judiciary, the state bar, tribal governments, and law schools. Only by working together across the state will we find solutions to these challenges.