DATE: March 5,
CONTACT: Laura Kiernan
603-271-2646 ext 2359
Read Chief Justice Broderick's message on Access to Justice
ACCESS TO JUSTICE COMMISSION
LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
New Hampshire AJC part of Nationwide Effort to Assist Citizens Who Need Legal Services
CONCORD—New Hampshire’s Access to Justice Commission, established by the Supreme Court in 2007 to improve citizen access to the courts and civil legal services, today launched a new website, www.courts.state.nh.us/access, designed to provide users with quick links to legal service providers, a self-help center and easy to read information about the state courts.
"We hope this website will be a tool that citizens will use when they need to find low cost legal help to resolve a problem," said Supreme Court Justice James E. Duggan, who co-chairs the 42-member Commission with Chief Justice Steven J. McAuliffe of the U.S. District Court in Concord.
New Hampshire is one of 26 states that have established similar commissions to both coordinate existing legal service delivery programs and develop new initiatives to help low-income citizens in civil cases who need a lawyer’s assistance to protect their rights.
"We can be proud of the effort that has been made in our state to serve the legal needs of the poor, through programs supported by the New Hampshire Bar, the Bar Foundation, the Campaign for Legal Services and others," Justice Duggan said. "The importance of the Access to Justice Commission is that it allows us to bring all those resources together to reach more citizens who need civil legal aid," Duggan said.
In addition to proving valuable information to citizens about legal services, the Commission’s new website is also a resource center for legal professionals who want to learn more about what other states are doing around the country to make the justice system accessible and affordable for all citizens—and how they can contribute.
The Supreme Court has identified a range of duties for the Commission including:
·Identification of current and future needs of persons whose access to justice is impeded because either they can’t afford a lawyer or because their perception is that they cannot afford any legal services.
·Work to increase resources and funding for civil legal services
·Reduce barriers to the justice system by examining existing court rules, procedures and policies
·Develop innovative ideas to enhance access to justice
·Provide long range planning and coordination for all legal service providers statewide.