About the Commission

NEWS — 2023-2026 D.C. Access to Justice Commissioners announced. Press release.

The D.C. Access to Justice Commission was created by the D.C. Court of Appeals in 2005 to help improve the ability of low– and moderate–income residents to access the civil justice system. The Commission also is responsible for raising the profile in our community of the need for equal access to justice. Established initially for a three–year term, the Court, in 2007, ordered the Commission’s work to continue indefinitely.

The Commission has twenty-five Commissioners, including D.C. Court of Appeals, Superior Court, and D.C. Office of Administrative Hearings judges and administrators; prominent members of the D.C. Bar; legal services leaders; corporate counsel; legal academics; and community leaders. It is chaired by Peter Edelman and vice-chaired by Jim Sandman. Commissioners are appointed by the Court for three–year terms.

The Commission meets in full session every six-eight weeks. A substantial amount of work is done though the Commission’s committees, which include both Commission members and representatives from the larger community. Current committees include: Self Help, Navigators, Community Integration, Coordinated Intake and Referral, Policy, and Resource Development. Several of these committees will move forward the Commission’s Justice for All priorities, which were adopted by the Commission in January 2022. (There is a Justice for All overview as well.)

The Commission is privately funded, predominantly by area law firms, foundations, and individuals. A separate 501(c)(3) organization, the D.C. Access to Justice Foundation, manages fundraising for the Commission. The Foundation has a separate Board of Directors.