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New Mexico Access to Justice Commission

The New Mexico Access to Justice Commission (ATJ) is an independent statewide body dedicated to expanding and improving civil legal assistance to New Mexicans living in poverty. The Commission goals include expanding resources, increasing public awareness of the need for civil legal assistance, and encouraging more pro bono work by attorneys. 

The Commission meets at least quarterly. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend our meetings. Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, all meetings are being held remotely with options for video and phone participation. Contact Twila Hoon Witz at for more information and to participate.

Why Was the Commission Created?

The New Mexico Judiciary is committed to the ideals expressed by Justice Lewis Powell, Jr., that equal justice under the law are not merely words on the face of the United States Supreme Court Building and justice should be available without regard to economic status.

When the Supreme Court established the Commission in 2004, the Supreme Court recognized that:

  • approximately one quarter of this state’s population lives at or below the federal poverty standard (this unfortunate statistic still stands)
  • these people have a variety of legal needs in areas such as family law, housing, consumer affairs, employment, health, community issues, wills, and public benefits; 60 percent of these needs in 2004 were unmet
  • NM ranked among the bottom twenty states in spending on legal services per poor person

The resulting inability of people experiencing poverty to meaningfully access to the civil justice system is of concern to the Court, the judiciary, the legal profession, and the citizenry of the State.

The Court ordered that the NM Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ) be established as an independent, statewide body dedicated to expanding and improving civil legal assistance in the state through pursuing the goals set forth above.