The New York State Unified Court System has been steadfast in its commitment to bridging the access to justice gap and ensuring that all New Yorkers have meaningful access to the courts and the legal assistance they need to secure the essentials of life.

About Us

The Permanent Commission on Access to Justice, established in 2015 with the enactment of Part 51.1 of the Rules of the Chief Judge (22 NYCRR § 51.1), continues the original mandate of the Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York, formed in 2010 by then-Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman as part of a comprehensive effort to provide counsel to low-income New Yorkers in civil cases. 2015 Press Release

The Permanent Commission’s mission is to expand access to civil legal services and improve access to justice generally. It provides support for the preparation of the Chief Judge's annual statewide hearing to assess the unmet needs for legal representation in civil legal proceedings involving fundamental human needs, and it assists in developing the Chief Judge's report and recommendations to the Legislature and the Executive about the level of public resources necessary to meet those needs. 

The Permanent Commission also has ongoing responsibility to study, analyze and develop recommendations on all aspects of civil legal services for low-income New Yorkers; to issue recommendations providing for improved and increased access; and to collaborate on access to justice issues, including expanded pro bono services and help for unrepresented litigants.  


Helaine M. Barnett, Chair

Helaine M. Barnett

Hon. Christina Ryba

Hon. Shahabuddeen A. Ally

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