Recently, the Conference of Chief Justices and Conferences of State Court Administrators adopted Joint Resolutions calling on states to support the creation of statewide Access to Justice Commissions. The Arizona Commission on Access to Justice (Commission) was established by Administrative Order No. 2014-83 on August 20, 2014. The order directs this Commission to help serve the important Strategic Agenda goal of promoting access to justice for Arizona’s civil litigants.
The purpose of the Commission is to study and make recommendations on innovative ways of promoting access to justice for individuals who cannot afford legal counsel or who choose to represent themselves in civil cases. The Commission shall evaluate best practices within Arizona and other states, identifying possible changes in court rules or practices to reduce barriers to access, identify and encourage the adoption of best practices among legal service providers, and consider potential long-term funding options.
The initial work of the Commission shall be to examine and make recommendations on the following:
- Assisting self-represented litigants and revising court rules and practices to facilitate access and the efficient processing of family court and eviction cases.
- Encouraging lawyers and law firms to provide pro bono services or financial support for civil legal aid for those who cannot afford counsel.
- Developing an information campaign to inform lawyers and other citizens about the state tax credit for contributions to agencies that serve the working poor, including legal services agencies in Arizona.