Endnotes and Resources: Strengthening Rural Courts


1 The initiative, funded by grants from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice to the Justice Management Institute (JMI), has been undertaken in collaboration with the National Association for Court Management (NACM). A key goal of the initiative, known as the Rural Courts Improvement Network, has been to enable peer-to-peer learning and strengthen communications and networking capabilities among rural practitioners.

2 A2J Author is being used in 22 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Ontario, Canada.

3 Notably, a 2002 study of programs providing assistance to self-represented litigants in rural areas emphasized the importance of direct assistance in making the court experience fair and meaningful for self-represented litigants (see Henschen, 2002: 57).

4 There is ample evidence of relatively high inflows of recently arrived immigrants to some rural areas, particularly areas where there are employment opportunities in certain industries, including tourist services, agriculture, food processing, and light manufacturing. Even when not numerically large, these migration patterns often impact rural areas that have little or no history of assimilating to immigrants—especially when the immigrants’ English-language capabilities are limited (see Jensen, 2006).

5 Only cities, towns, or unincorporated areas with less than 20,000 population are eligible for these funds.

6 Provision of indigent-defense services is fundamentally a legislative responsibility, but courts can have important roles in articulating the need for high-quality defense services. The needs are often especially acute in rural areas, where there is a limited pool of attorneys available to serve as defense counsel. For a critique of the current state of indigent-defense services, see American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, 2004.


A2J Author® (2005-08). Software, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction. www.A2JAuthor.org

American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (2004).  Gideon’s Broken Promise: America’s Continuing Quest for Equal Justice. Chicago: American Bar Association.

Griller, G., L. Suskin, D. Sayles, and E. Friess (2010). “Reengineering Rural Justice in Minnesota’s Eighth Judicial District.” Project report, National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, Va., October.

Henschen, B. M. (2002). Lessons from the Country: Serving Self-Represented Litigants in Rural Jurisdictions.  Chicago: American Judicature Society.

Jensen, L. (2006). New Immigrant Settlements in Rural America: Problems, Prospects, and Policies. Durham: Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire.

Judicial Council of the State of Nevada (2003). “Report of the Commission on Rural Courts,” September.

New York State Unified Court System (2006). “Action Plan for the Justice Courts,” November.

Rural Courts Improvement Network. www.jmijustice.org/current-projects/rural-courts

U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Rural Development.” www.rurdev.usda.gov/HCF_CF.html