The Equal Justice Illinois Campaign is a bi-partisan coalition of state leaders working to increase state funding of civil legal aid so that all Illinois residents – regardless of income – have access to the justice system.
The legal aid system currently operates near breaking point. There are less than 400 legal aid attorneys to help the more than 1.85 million Illinois residents living in poverty. Of the ten most populous states, Illinois rank ninth when it comes to legal aid funding, spending $1.4 million compared to the average of $14.7 million.
As a result, the Equal Justice Illinois Campaign is calling on the state to do its share and increase funding for civil legal aid so this critical safety net can be strengthened.
The Illinois Equal Justice Act
The Illinois Equal Justice Act (30 ILCS 765/1 et. seq.) was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by former Governor George Ryan in 1999.
The Act recognizes that equal access to our legal system is a basic right for all Illinois residents, regardless of their income. The Act promotes a range of innovative, cost-effective strategies for meeting the civil legal needs of all Illinois residents. The Act also created the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation to distribute funding appropriated by the State of Illinois to support legal aid programs. Currently, the State of Illinois’ annual appropriation for the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation is $1.4 million.
To view the entire Act, please click here.