International visitors

International flags on flagpoles
pennstatenews | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Welcome, international visitors!

Compared to many other countries, the US operates very differently in its legal system and legal aid. The US is a common law system with both state and federal statutes providing civil and criminal law.  Civil legal aid and indigent public defense (criminal defense) are separate systems. There is no national legal aid budget.

Leaders of the organization behind this website, the Consortium for the National Equal Justice Library, have participated in the International Legal Aid Group (ILAG) meetings for many years.

Text box with language tips for non-Americans

Overview of the US legal system & legal aid

See this page for overviews of both the US legal system and US legal aid.

    ILAG biennial reports on US civil legal aid

    Every two years, an American reports on developments in civil legal aid in the United States. See the entire collection beginning in 2001. These reports are extensive, detailed and a great resource. The report covering 2017-2019 is about 100 pages and includes sections on civil legal aid and access to justice. Between 2001-2019, all but one of these reports was written by Alan Houseman, President of the Consortium for the National Equal Justice Library.

    Oral histories

    This site also contains oral histories of leaders who have been involved with legal aid internationally. Visit this page and click on the name to see their oral history.