Rule and Process Simplification
How Does Rule and Process Simplification Improve Access to Justice? Court processes and rules can take on a life of their own. Often these complex procedures can be simplified and improve efficiency and access for everyone including the self-represented litigant. When litigants are able to access information and forms and understand the processes, public trust and confidence in the judicial system can be improved. The role of the judge is crucial in addressing this simplification process.
For additional information see the following resources:
Zorza, Richard. Some First Thoughts on Court Simplification: The Key to Civil Access and Justice Transformation. (2013). Drake Law Review.
Crawford, Chris. Emerging Technology Trends that Will Transform Courts. (2011). National Center for State Courts, Future Trends in State Courts.
Clark, Melanca and Daniel Olmos. Emerging Strategies in Foreclosure Mediation. (2011). National Center for State Courts. Future Trends in State Courts.
Pal, Nabanita. Facing Foreclosure Alone: The Continuing Crisis in Legal Representation. The Brennan Center. November 2011. Data indicates that most homeowners have no legal advice for foreclosure proceedings. Twenty states have a foreclosure process that is done predominantly through the courts. Litigants in the remaining states have an even greater burden in accessing legal assistance.
State Related Programs:
This pilot program in Brooklyn, NY uses trained non-lawyers to assist unrepresented litigants in housing cases. These navigators accompany litigants to court and respond to questions from the judge, providing moral support and information to litigants. Navigators can also help tenants keep paperwork in order, assist them in accessing interpreters and other services and, before they even enter the courtroom, explain what to expect.
Family Law Limited License Legal Technicians
The Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Board derives its authority from the Washington State Supreme Court under Rule 28 of the Admission to Practice Rules (APR), adopted effective September 1, 2012. APR 28 authorizes non-attorneys who meet certain educational requirements to advise and assist clients on specific areas of law.
Civil Justice Strategies Task Force
The charge of the task force is to analyze the reasons for the existing “justice gap,” to evaluate the role of the legal profession in addressing the crisis, to seek the input of groups who have been working to expand access to justice to understand what efforts have worked and which have not been successful, to study creative solutions being considered in other states and other countries, and to develop an action plan with recommendations for steps that should be taken to fill the justice gap and achieve true access to justice in California. One possibility is the Limited License Working Group.
Texas - Task Force on Judicial Foreclosure Rules.
The Supreme Court of Texas The Texas Supreme Court has issued an Order Creating Task Force on Judicial Foreclosure Rules to examine Rules 735 and 736 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, rules intended to address judicial foreclosure of home equity loans and reverse mortgage loans. The Task Force website includes links to Task Force meetings and forms.