Updates, click here.                                                                                       The Working Groups, click here.



THE RECONSTITUTED MASSACHUSETTS ACCESS TO JUSTICE COMMISSION

In February 2010 the Supreme Judicial Court reconstituted the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission.  Twenty-three people were appointed to serve on the Commission.  

SJC Justice Ralph Gants and Boston attorney David Rosenberg were named Commission co-chairs.  They were joined by Judge Dina Fein, recently named to the position of Special Advisor to the Trial Court on Access to Justice Initiatives, a judge from the Appeals Court and four judges from varied trial courts.  The balance of the Commission are drawn from many parts of the state justice community, including such settings as legal services program staff and boards, bar associations and foundations, private law firms, an executive branch agency, corporate counsel and social service agencies.  Three Commissioners are not lawyers, including one former client Silagra 50 mg.    

The details of the appointment process are spelled out in a Membership Statement attached to each member's letter of appointment.  As with the original Commission, the Justices will assess whether a Commission continues to be helpful after five years.

The Commission's Mission Statement is ambitious:

Mission Statement

          The goal of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission is to achieve equal justice for all persons in the Commonwealth.   It strives to accomplish this goal by providing leadership and vision to, and coordination with, the many organizations and interested persons involved in providing and improving access to justice for those unable to afford counsel.

          The Commission will pursue its mission by various means including the following:

1) Strengthening the civil legal services community in providing legal services for those unable to afford counsel.

2) Enlarging the number of attorneys trained, willing, and able to provide pro bono civil legal services through full or limited representation.

3) Improving the ability of those without counsel to identify, articulate, and present their legal claims and defenses in civil judicial and administrative proceedings.

4)  Working closely with the Chief Justice for Administration and Management and the Special Advisor to the Trial Courts on Access to Justice Initiatives to broaden access to justice within the court system.

5) Coordinating the efforts of the broad network of organizations and interested persons who seek to improve access to justice by (a) sharing information regarding successful programs, approaches, and strategies in delivering civil legal services to those unable to afford counsel, (b) identifying best practices in delivering such legal services, (c) determining the changing legal needs of those unable to afford counsel, as well as enduring unaddressed and under-addressed legal needs, and (d) developing goals and strategies in meeting those legal needs.

6)  Providing a neutral forum in which important issues affecting access to civil justice can be discussed among the branches of government and the civil legal services community, including a broad cross-section of providers eaifo2.org, funders, clients, bar leaders and other interested parties.

7)  Reporting annually to the Supreme Judicial Court on the status of access to justice in the Commonwealth, including recommendations for reforms and new initiatives.

          The success of the Commission will be measured by the extent to which persons can more effectively present their claims and defenses in our courts and administrative agencies, regardless of income or language ability.


WORKING GROUPS

The Commission does much of its work through its six Working Groups.


UPDATES

Updates regarding access to justice in Massachusetts will be posted on this website periodically.


OTHER COMMISSIONS

For information about the growing number of access to justice commissions, visit the ABA's Access to Justice Support Project at www.ATJsupport.org.

 

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