Confronting the COVID-19 Access to Justice Crisis.
Maryland. Attorney General’s COVID-19 Access to Justice Task Force. Maryland Access to Justice Commission.
State Resource Technical Report
Published: January 2021
Maryland Attorney General’s Office
200 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
Tel: (410) 576-6300
TDD/TTY: (800) 735-2258
Sponsoring Organization: Abell Foundation.
Many Marylanders now face momentous challenges in almost every aspect of their lives, from health, food, employment, and housing to finances, life and health planning, and family issues. Each of these challenges often has a legal component that can only be resolved within the civil justice system. Yet even before the pandemic, most low- and moderate-income Marylanders were navigating this system on their own, without legal help or assistance, and often with dire results. They frequently faced severe and unjust consequences—like eviction or the denial of protection from abuse—not because they did anything wrong, but because they did not understand their rights, did not know where to get help, or did not receive help when they sought it. The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened this crisis of justice. As an unprecedented number of Marylanders are forced to seek legal resolution of their problems, they will find themselves trying to navigate a civil justice system already strained by inadequate resources, challenges in access, and longstanding inequities. When Marylanders seek legal recourse, the civil justice system should be accessible, fair, and equitable. Reforms are needed at every level to ensure this outcome for all. We must also take particular care that the system does not reinforce and exacerbate harms to those who have disproportionately borne the brunt of the virus, including Black and Hispanic Marylanders, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Strengthening and reforming the civil justice system will ensure that all Marylanders are housed, fed, healthy, safe, secure, and connected to justice. (Author abstract)
COVID-19; DISASTER RESPONSE; PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES; WELL BEING; COPING SKILLS; LEGAL AID; LEGAL PROBLEMS; LEGAL SERVICES; POVERTY; SOCIOECONOMIC INFLUENCES; SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS; LAWYERS; LAWYERS ROLE; CIVIL COURTS; MARYLAND