Access to Justice (A2J) Work

by Tabitha Ponder

Tabitha PonderThe Judicial Council of Georgia’s Committee on Access, Fairness, Public Trust and Confidence Committee is undergoing some positive changes.  First, the name of the committee will change to Access to Justice for the sake of brevity and to align with similarly named judicial committees and commissions nationally.  Second, the new Judicial Council Access to Justice Committee is partnering with and has committed to adoption of the State Bar's Justice for All Strategic Plan and suggested projects.  Both Committees have begun work on creating models or prototypes at the local level for assisting self-represented litigants with a combination of strengthening local libraries, building an accessible platform of self-help online forms, local pop-up legal clinics, and "low bono" models of attorney representation.  A number of attorneys and judges (like Judge Regina Quick in Athens and Judge Bill Adams in Macon) are already doing legal clinics for their communities and we hoping to follow their lead.

Much of this new effort will be a collaborative effort between the Judicial Council Access to Justice Committee, Atty. Mike Monahan, Judge Kristina Blum, Judge Ronald Ramsey, Sr., and Atty. Laureen Kelly, Director of the Dougherty County Law Library, and Prof. Eleanor Crosby Lanier, J.D., UGA Law School.  With regard to our Pop- Up Legal Clinics Initiative, we will also solicit assistance and participation from members of local/surrounding voluntary bar associations.  The volunteer attorneys will be available to provide consultations on a variety of topics including, but not limited to family law, probate law, employment law, landlord-tenant law and record restriction (criminal) law. Our first series of Pop-up Clinics will be strategically held throughout Georgia regions that are heavily populated by underprivileged residents.  These legal pop-up clinics will be held throughout 2018-2019, beginning with our "kick-off" Lowndes County/South GA Pop-up Clinic which will be held in July (dates and location TBD).  Our additional Pop-up Clinics will be held as follows: Waycross/November, Augusta/February '19, and Young Harris/June '19. 

The third and final announcement is that the Access to Justice Committee is sponsoring a summit on May 25th at the Center for Civil and Human Rights.  The summit designed to engage the faith community on these issues. The agenda for the summit is here. Registration is here.

Contact AOC

Administrative Office of the Courts 244 Washington Street, SW Suite 300 Atlanta, GA  30334

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