UCS Mission Statement

NY State SealThe mission of the Unified Court System (UCS) is to deliver equal justice under the law and to achieve the just, fair and timely resolution of all matters that come before our courts.

In the service of our mission, the UCS is committed to operating with integrity and transparency, and to ensuring that all who enter or serve in our courts are treated with respect, dignity and professionalism. We affirm our responsibility to promote a court system free from any and all forms of bias and discrimination and to promote a judiciary and workforce that reflect the rich diversity of New York State.


Please be advised that some of the New York State Unified Court System Office for Justice Initiatives’ volunteer attorney programs are now available online.

We are working hard to restore all of our volunteer programs. Please check this page regularly to receive updates.

Find Free LEGAL ASSISTANCE during the Coronavirus crisis by phone and online

New and easy to follow instructions for making phone and video court appearances are here:
Virtual Court Appearances for the Public



The New York State Unified Court System’s Office for Justice Initiatives led by Honorable Edwina G. Richardson, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives, is charged with directing the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program. The Office for Justice Initiatives (OJI) also oversees child welfare and juvenile and adolescent justice initiatives, including implementation of legislation raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York (commonly known as the “Raise the Age” law). The Office for Justice Initiatives works closely with the Permanent Commission on Access to Justice, as well as with the Advisory Committee on Access for People with Disabilities, the Center for Court Innovation (CCI), the Division of Technology, the Grants Office, the Office of Language Access, Office of Legal Information and law schools.

Law Day Report - 2023

Law Day Report 2023 image

Law Day, celebrated annually in the month of May, offers us the opportunity to reflect on and discuss the rule of law and its role in our society. Each year, Law Day is centered around a different theme to help guide these discussions. In recognition of this important tradition, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives Edwina G. Richardson and the Office for Justice Initiatives issue an annual Law Day Report each May reflecting on the theme of that year’s Law Day.  

As we close out our Law Day celebrations, we are pleased to issue the 2023 Law Day Report, centered around this year’s theme, “Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, and Collaboration.” In keeping with this theme, the 2023 Law Day Report illustrates the importance of collaboration with those who share in our collective commitment to ensure meaningful access to equal justice for all, and how these partnerships are crucial to the success of the work of the Office for Justice Initiatives and the New York State Unified Court System. We invite you to review this report and share any questions or feedback with the Office for Justice Initiatives at [email protected].


Equal Justice Report - 2022

Office for Justice Initiatives 2022 Law Day Report

On March 8, 2023, Acting Chief Judge Anthony Cannataro announced the release of the “Equal Justice in the New York State Courts: 2022 Year in Review” report updating the achievements of the court system’s Equal Justice work, led by Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives Hon. Edwina Richardson. The report highlights the court system’s statewide efforts over the past year to promote diversity and inclusiveness on the bench and in the courts’ workforce and foster a safe, welcoming and bias-free environment, consistent with the recommendations of the Special Adviser on Equal Justice in the Courts Secretary Jeh Johnson.



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