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New York State Courts Access to Justice Program Goals

  • finding long term solutions to chronic lack of civil legal assistance for people of low-income and modest means in New York including finding a permanent public funding stream for civil legal services
  • improving and increasing the availability of criminal defense representation to people facing criminal charges
  • gathering and reviewing statewide data on legal services delivery and needs towards increasing and improving civil and criminal legal assistance
  • coordinating efforts between courts, legal aid organizations and other legal and non-legal organizations, administrative agencies and lawmaking bodies to expand access to justice
  • analyzing, recommending and promoting proposed legislation, court rules, codes of conduct, policies and systemic changes that will open greater access to the courts
  • analyzing and addressing the collateral consequences of criminal convictions
  • fostering the development of new low income and modest means income pro bono programs and supporting and improving the quality of existing pro bono programs both court-based and outside the court, using lawyers, law students and other professionals
  • testing and developing delivery of legal assistance models both court-based and non-court based, including but not limited to, limited scope representation delivery systems to improve and increase availability of assistance
  • expanding access to justice for unrepresented litigants by increasing the availability of self-help tools using a variety of methods including, but not limited to, technology, plain language forms and signs, and informational materials
  • providing culturally competent access to justice for litigants of diverse backgrounds and languages
  • addressing access to justice for individuals with special needs or social services needs by expanding social work and social services in the court system
  • providing more opportunities for justice via community empowerment using outreach, education and training of government officials and offices, neighborhood agencies and community members
  • fostering awareness of the needs of unrepresented litigants and litigants of diverse backgrounds and special needs and insuring high quality service by both judicial and non-judicial personnel via education, training and literature.
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