About the Commission

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 eighteen Commissioners, including D.C. Court of Appeals and Superior Court judges, past Presidents of the D.C. Bar, Executive Directors of leading legal services providers, and other community leaders. It is chaired by Georgetown University Law Professor, Peter Edelman. Commissioners are appointed by the Court for three–year terms.

The Commission meets in full session every six weeks. A substantial amount of work is done though the Commission's committees, which include both Commission members and representatives from the larger community. There are currently five committees, each chaired by a Commissioner: the Private Revenue Committee; the Courts Committee; the Office of Administrative Hearings Committee; the Outreach Committee; and the Support Functions Committee. There are also ad hoc committees that focus on public funding and on the SAILS (Senior Attorney Initiative for Legal Services) Project.

The Commission is privately funded, predominantly by area law firms. 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.