Box 13: What Deters People from Using Court Services?
According to the 2014 Access to Justice Survey, citizens do what they can to avoid the court system. Nearly 63 percent of respondents indicated that, had they had a dispute that they thought should be settled in court, they would nevertheless decide against pursuing it or would seriously consider not doing so. Court and lawyer costs, concerns about likely delay in court proceedings, and lack of trust in the judicial system are the primary reasons cited as deterring individuals from using court services. In the 2013 Multi-Stakeholder Justice Survey, members of the public with experience in the court system cited similar concerns with access to justice.
Notably, members of the public with court experience expressed greater concern with nearly every aspect of court accessibility than those without court experience. This suggests that improving access to justice requires going beyond merely demystifying courts or raising awareness about access to court services. Rather, it requires efforts that substantively address the barriers actually experienced by court users. Each of the reasons that citizens cite is addressed in this Chapter.