Committees

Committees and Working Groups of the Third

Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission

 

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee oversees the work of the Commission overall, the work of the committees, and the annual report to the Supreme Judicial Court.

 

Revenue Enhancement Committee

This committee identifies ways to increase the funding of civil legal aid through innovative means, including investigating new sources of state funding, federal funding, foundation funding, and private philanthropy.

 

Delivery of Legal Services Committee

This committee’s scope encompasses the whole civil legal services delivery system and seeks to identify opportunities for systemic improvement.

 

Access to Lawyers Committee

This committee seeks to increase access to attorneys for both low-income litigants and those above the poverty threshold, but still lacking income sufficient to be able to afford a lawyer.  Efforts include promoting Limited Assistance Representation, fee shifting models, and law school incubators and similar programming.

 

Self-Represented Litigants Committee

This committee seeks to identify and support improvements in the justice system for those who do not have a lawyer.

 

Administrative Justice Committee

This committee reviews the administrative practices of state agencies and addresses obstacles to accessing justice within those systems.  Current efforts focus on technology-related barriers, language access, and integration/information sharing among administrative agencies.

 

Justice for All Implementation Committee

This committee oversees efforts to implement ideas from the Massachusetts Justice for All Strategic Action Plan, both through pilot projects funded by the National Center for State Courts, in conjunction with the Public Welfare Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations, and through additional, independent efforts.  The committee has four working groups:

Housing

Consumer Debt

Family

Ecosystem

 

Criminal-Civil Crossover Working Group

This working group has investigated gaps in legal services at the intersection of the civil and criminal justice systems and is working to identify opportunities for greater coordination, replication of localized best practices, and expansion of legal assistance for civil legal issues affecting persons involved in the criminal justice system.

 

Courthouse Cell Phone Policy Working Group

This working group is investigating impacts of the current Trial Court policy with respect to allowing/prohibiting cell phones in courthouses and may offer recommendations regarding best practices for balancing security needs and interests with the needs and interests of self-represented litigants.