Thanks to so many of you who expressed condolences on the tragic passing of Chief Justice Gants.  We will remember him for his dedication to access to justice, here and beyond.  We continue to mourn the loss of Chief Justice Gants as we move forward collectively with the work that was so important to him.

We share some news and provide updates below.

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With profound sadness and a deep sense of loss, we write about the passing of our Commission Co-Chair, our leader, and our friend, Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants. Chief Justice Gants’ contributions to the law, to society, and to humanity are broad-reaching and manifold.  Focusing on his work with the Commission, we share examples of his vision, his collaborative spirit, and his work ethic in tribute to the profound impact his life’s work has had and, we hope, will continue to have on the quest for a legal system and a community that provide access to justice for all. Read More

Access To Justice Update June 30, 2016

MLAC Appropriation:  Up By $1.0 Million Today’s news from the legislature’s budget conference committee held a better outcome for MLAC than some had predicted. The FY 2017 appropriation is $18 million, up $1.0 million from FY 2016. The increase was won despite many cuts affecting other state budgets. The work of MLAC supporters is not quite finished, however; the Governor still has to review and sign off on the budget. Housing Court Expansion Not So Fortunate The proposal to expand Housing Court jurisdiction to cover the whole state did not fare so well. Despite an effort that saw many municipalities formally petition for … Read More

A2J Update June 6, 2016

COMMISSION FILES ANNUAL REPORT WITH JUSTICES — ACTIVITY ON MANY FRONTS The Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission has filed its Annual Report on Activities in 2015 with the Supreme Judicial Court. A copy is attached, and the Report, together with reports from the prior decade, can be found at www.massA2J.org. The Report has five sections, corresponding with the Commission’s five core strategies : 1)    increasing justice by improving the effectiveness of, and the funding for, civil legal services organizations; 2)    increasing services provided by private attorneys; 3)    improving assistance to unrepresented litigants; 4)    improving access to justice beyond the courts, such as in administrative agencies; … Read More

A2J Update May 16, 2016

Final Access to Justice Commission Meeting of this Court Year Thursday, May 19 at 3:00. The Access to Justice Commission is meeting Thursday, May 19, at 3:00 in the Conference Suite on the Second Floor of the Adams Courthouse. This is the final scheduled meeting of this court year. The agenda for the meeting includes: ·         Consideration of a comment on the Proposed Uniform Rules on Public Access to Court Records, ·         Report by the Non-Lawyer Roles Committee ·         Report of the Special Advisor to the Trial Court on Access to Justice Initiatives. ·         Presentation on the most recent year of the Access to Justice … Read More

A2J Update April 19, 2016

NEXT COMMISSION MEETING MAY 19 AT 3:00 pm The next meeting of the Access to Justice Commission will take place at 3:00 on May 19 at the John Adams Courthouse. Planning for a 100% access project will probably be the primary topic on the agenda, with prospects for funding pilot projects through which we might learn more about ways to pursue the aspirational goal of access to effective assistance for every person with an essential legal problem MICROSOFT OPENS A MILLION DOLLAR PORTAL A central concept in developing a blueprint for a 100% access system that will provide every self-representing litigant with effective assistance … Read More

A2J Update November 11, 2016

ACCESS TO JUSTICE COMMISSION MEETS NOVEMBER 16 AT 3:00 The Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission will hold its next meeting at 3:00 pm on Monday, November 16, in the Conference Suite in the Adams Courthouse. The Agenda for the meeting includes Appeals Court Justice Cynthia Cohen discussing the access to justice features of the new Massachusetts Code of Judicial Conduct (effective January 1, 2016). Justice Cohen chaired the committee that drafted the revisions. Also on the Agenda are a discussion of the Issue Paper Concerning New Categories of Legal Services Providers put out for comment by the ABA Commission on the Future … Read More

A2J Update October 20, 2015

ACCESS TO JUSTICE UPDATE  October 20, 2015 NEXT COMMISSION MEETING October 26. 3:00, Social Law Library, 4th Floor, Adams Courthouse The next meeting of the Access to Justice Commission will take place at 3:00 pm on Monday, October 26, 2015, beginning at 3:00 pm . The meeting is open to the public. All are welcome. On the agenda: continued discussion of the role of social service agencies in access to justice, the plans of the Access to Attorneys Committee (incubators, fee-shifting, etc.),  and an update on proposed expansion of the jurisdictionof the Housing Court. Future meetings of the Commission are scheduled for November 16, January … Read More

A2J Update May 18, 2015

NEW ACCESS TO JUSTICE COMMISSION MEETS THURSDAY AT 3:00 The first meeting of the newly reconstituted Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission will take place in the Conference Suite on the second floor of the John Adams Courthouse, Pemberton Plaza, Boston. New Commission Co-Chairs SJC Associate Justice Geraldine Hines and Attorney Susan M. Finegan will discuss their vision for the Commission, the structure of seven committees will be explained and there will be a chance to consider priorities for the Commission’s future.  The meeting is open to the public and all are encouraged to come, listen and involved. MLAC APPROPRIATION — FOLLOW THE BOUNCING … Read More


ACCESS TO JUSTICE COMMISSION MEETINGS Commission Meets In a Week: The next Commission meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 22, 2015, at 3:00 P.M. It will take place in the Fifth Floor Conference Room of the Social Law Library, located in the Adams Courthouse in Boston. The Agenda will include reports on current projects and discussion of access to justice policies.  All are welcome to attend.  This may be the final meeting of the Second Access to Justice Commission. This Commission sunsets February 28, 2015/ The Third Access to Justice Commission is expected to be appointed by the Justices of the … Read More

Access to Justice Update – October 19, 2014

It has been a milestone week for setting access to justice goals in the Commonwealth. Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants has delivered his inaugural State of the Judiciary address to a packed Massachusetts Bar Association Bench-Bar Symposium assembled in the Great Hall at the Adams Courthouse. His top priorities include an ambitious set of access goals for the courts. At the same time, the Boston Bar Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid has issued its long-awaited report calling on the legislature to take dramatic steps to increase funding for legal aid so that two out of three eligible … Read More

Access To Justice Update, September 19, 2014

This Update includes more news than usual.  Here’s what is covered. Events: Next Commission Meeting Thursday, October 2, 2014 Access to Justice Fellows Kickoff October 2, RSVP Now Economic Opportunity and Justice: The Next 50 Years, Tuesday, September 23, 5:30 pm,             RSVP at once! Reports: Court Service Centers Open i Boston, Greenfield Volunteers Needed Small Claims Videos Online in Eight Languages Citigroup and Bank of America Settlements With Department of Justice Will Bring           Funds to Mass IOLTA Committee Research: Why Do People With Legal Problems Do Nothing About Them? Innovations: VLP Wins LSC Pro Bono Innovation Grant Hackcess to Justice at ABA Meeting in Boston People: Edward M. Ginsberg Receives ABA Pro Bono Publico … Read More

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