Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010
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News from the courts

Information center opens in Brooke Courthouse Lobby

The Trial Court Access to Justice Initiative has opened a public information center at the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse. Volunteers at the help desk greet court users and assist them with navigating the courthouse, obtaining basic information for filing cases and finding legal resources.

The Brooke Courthouse Information Center is located in the main lobby on the second floor and operates daily from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Staffed by volunteers including college students, law students and retired professionals, retired District Court Judge Joseph Dever has volunteered to serve in an oversight role for the information center and hopes to enlist the assistance of other retired judges.

Judge Dina Fein, special advisor to the Trial Court for Access to Justice Initiatives, announced that the Information Center Task Force, under the leadership of Worcester Housing Court First Justice Diana Horan and Boston Municipal Court General Counsel Cynthia Robinson Markey, developed a plan to operate the help desk with the assistance of volunteers. SJC Senior Attorney Sandy Lundy, Deputy Advisor for the Initiative, worked closely with the task force in developing the concept for the center, and identifying and training the volunteers

The Interim Report on Access to Justice Initiatives in the Trial Court in January proposed creation of task forces to focus on Information Desks, Forms, Self-Help Materials, Training and Limited Assistance Representation. The five task forces, comprised of court personnel and legal community representatives, have been meeting regularly.

The Trial Court Access to Justice Initiative works in collaboration with the Access to Justice Commission appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court. Its mission includes guiding and coordinating resources within the Trial Court to broaden access to civil justice for all litigants, including self-represented litigants, individuals of modest means, those of limited or no English proficiency, and individuals with mental or physical disabilities.

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