Access to Justice

Justice Without Barriers Committee


The mission of the Access to Justice Board Justice Without Barriers Committee is to advocate for a fully inclusive justice system by identifying impediments that inhibit or prevent fair and equitable access to and utilization of the justice system regardless of status.

Such impediments include, but are not limited to physical barriers, language barriers, communication barriers, complex procedures, ineffective rules and inequitable treatment due to bias, implicit or not, based upon perceptions about race, gender, national origin, and other differences.

Committee Co-Chairs
Josefina Ramirez, Northwest Justice Project

Staff Liaison
Diana Singleton


The Justice without Barriers Committee meets by conference call from noon to 1 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month. To receive meeting notices, contact Diana Singleton.

Meeting Minutes

History and Accomplishments

In 1996, the ATJ Board established two related committees. The Systems Impediments Committee was charged with identifying and removing impediments for people whose status makes it difficult or impossible to meaningfully access the justice system. The Status Impediments Committee was charged with identifying judicial, legislative, and administrative systems impediments to access and recommending and implementing changes to those systems. 

In 2000, the ATJ Board consolidated these two committees into one standing committee, the Impediments to Access to Justice Committee. The Impediments Committee focused its efforts on addressing barriers to the justice system for people with disabilities, which resulted in three significant initiatives:

  • Ensuring Equal Access for People with Disabilities: A Guide for Washington Courts. This publication, and its accompanying brochure, are a resource for judicial officers and court staff to address the barriers posed by their own courthouses and court practices.  
  • GR 33: Adopted by the Supreme Court in 2007, the rule creates a process by which individual litigants can confidentially notify the court if they have disabilities. 
  • The Committee was instrumental in legislation that created an Access Coordinator position at the Administrative Office of the Courts. 

In May 2009, the ATJ Board established a priority to address barriers facing pro se individuals in the justice system. Given the similarity of focus between this Committee and the ATJ Board’s Pro Se Committee, the two committees merged into the Justice Without Barriers Committee.