Revisiting ILAG: Challenges of Access to Justice

Insight June 29, 2023

On June 21-23, the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession co-hosted the International Legal Aid Group (ILAG)’s 14th biennial conference. ILAG “is a network of legal aid specialists including Chief Executives and Managers from Legal Aid Commissions, high ranking Civil Servants and leading Academics from over two dozen countries,” according to their website. During this year’s conference, academics and practitioners zeroed in on ILAG’s mission “to improve evidence-based policy-making in the field of poverty legal services” by focusing on particular challenges the field faces. In addition to national country reports, speakers delivered papers focused on the impact of technology, challenges delivering access to justice in rural areas, legal aid funding, and more. See the full schedule below, as well as links to conference papers and reports.

Speakers during the panel Measuring Access to Justice on Day 1 of ILAG’s biennial conference at Harvard Law School. All photos credit to Lorin Granger (HLS).

Conference Agenda & Papers + National Reports

Conference Papers are linked in the appropriate session. If a paper is missing a link, it has not yet been received by the conference organizers.

Wednesday, June 21



1.30-2.30 pmNational reports

Santosh Snehi Mann – Empowering Indian citizens through Legal Aid

Isidro Garcia Mingo – Legal Aid in Jordan: Expanding Access to the Public System

Overall summary – Avrom Sherr

2.30-3.45pmSession One: Measuring Access to Justice (Panel)

David B. Wilkins, Harvard Law School

Rebecca Sandefur, ASU

James Greiner, Harvard Law School

David Colarusso, Suffolk University Law School

James Teufel, Help Justice


4.00-5.45pm      Session Two: Recent developments in the USA: What lessons for the wider world?

Catrina Denvir, Jessica Mant, Meredith Edelman and Alvx Mark – Exploring the Relationship between Age of Parenthood and Civil Justice Problem Incidence

Neil Steinkamp Tending to the Garden of Justice – Innovative Techniques for Fostering the Development of Thriving Justice Systems

Mallory SoRelle – Race, Class and Democratic consequences of Unequal Access to Justice

Elizabeth Chambliss: The Vanishing Rural Lawyer

6.00pm – Conference Reception @ Harvard Law School

Thursday June 22

9.00-10.45amSession Three A: SDG 16.3 and Access to Justice

Adrian Di Giovanni- Supporting Southern-led Research and Evidence to Close the Justice Gap

Vicky Kemp-  Access to justice for child suspects drawn into an adversarial system of justice

Katie Kelso and Bianca Dufty – Early legal assistance in child protection

Mies Westerveldt – Access to Justice, a multi-layered concept
9.00-10.45amSession Three B: Crime and Access to Justice

Sofia Libedinsky and Pablo Aranda Aliaga – Access to Justice and comprehensive services for victims of institutional prison violence

Andre Castro: The Red Room Case – A Landmark application of the Exclusion Rule in Brazil

Miri Sharon, Anat Horovitz & Yoav Sapir – The Challenge of Defending Indigent Clients in a World of Global Enforcement

Anika Holterhof and Wendy O’Brien – Human Rights-Based and Technology-Enabled Approaches to Enhancing Access to Legal Aid

10.45-11.15 amBreak
11.15am-1:00pm – Session Four A: Helping those ineligible for legal aid

Bonnie Hough: Rising to the Challenge – California’s Self-Help Centers in Pandemic Times

Tatiana Grieshofer: Informational justice at risk: An empirical and textual analysis of information and advice provision in family court

Jin Ho Verdonschot, Carla van Rooijen, Susanne Peters, Corry van Zeeland: Steps
towards an evidence-based legal aid system

Mathius Huhtilainen and Tarja Koskela: Financial eligibility and Legal aid in Finland

11.15am-1:00pm – Session Four B: The Justification for Legal Aid

Louise Glanville and Martha Arkalis:  What is the cost of not funding legal assistance?

Trevor Farrow and Marcus Pratt: Making the Case for Legal Aid.

Sunil Chauhan: Legal Needs in Rural India: Challenges and responses of legal aid authorities

Matthias Killian: Making it attractive to private lawyers

1.00-2.00 pm Lunch

2.00-3.30 pmSession Five Unpacking the concept of Access in Access to Justice

Ab Currie: The First Step in People-Centered Justice

Gabrielle Canny: The role of modern communications in providing legal assistance

Jane Cipants: Is access for all really access to justice?

Matthew Burnett and Rebecca Sandefur: Mapping global access to justice research to support evidence-based policy and practice

3.30-3.45 pm Break

3.45-5.30pm – Session Six: Where legal aid lawyers will come from in the future?


Colin Lancaster: Supply problems in Scotland

Megan Longley:  The Role of University Teaching Clinics in Access to Justice and Legal Aid

Catrina Denvir, Jacqui Kinghan, Jessica Mant and Daniel Newman: Access to Justice and the Future of Legal Aid – A census of legal aid providers in England and Wales

6.00pm – Conference Dinner @ Harvard Law School

Friday 23rd June

9.00-10.45 am  Session Seven: Holistic provision : The Way of the Future? 

Hazel Genn – Addressing health inequalities through Health Justice Partnerships: NHS and Ministry of Justice policy and practice developments in England & Wales

Maaike Langen – Delivering justice and fairness in people’s lives, looking beyond the usual suspects

Sue James – Going to where the people are who need our help – legal empowerment and multidisciplinary innovation

10.45-11.15 am  Break

11.15am-1 pm Session Eight: Technology and Access

Andrews Kananga – The Use of Mobile technology for legal aid delivery

Stefanie Lemke – Ensuring Equal Access to Justice: Is Legal Technology the Answer? Observations and Global Trends from Asia and Europe

Yu-Shan Chang –  Not All Clients Are The Same: Exploring the Possibility of Legal Aid Service Innovation with Modern Technology


2.00-3.45pm – Session Nine: Technology as the problem?

Aneurin Thomas: AI and Access to Justice: Where are we and Where are we going? 

Natalie Byrom: Justice Data Matters: Datafication and access to justice

Riikka Koulu and Frida Westerling: Rethinking Access to Justice through digitalisation: User experiences of digital legal aid services

 Stuart Kelly, Technology and the Future of Lawyers

3.45-4.00 pm                                                Where Next?