Oh the Possibilities!

Recently, Kate Bladow, from ProBono.Net, spoke about technology in the courts at Gov 2.0 Expo 2010.

She spoke about barriers to access to justice, and finding innovative ways, through technology, to open the doors to justice. One way? Document Assembly programs that assist self-represented litigants (SRLs). She noted that many SRLs complete the forms incorrectly or leave out vital information when they attempt to complete them. Often, these are individuals who are unable to afford an attorney.

Another point that Kate makes is that attorneys are not guaranteed except in certain actions.

So, you may wonder, what’s the harm?

  • Some people may have to start the entire process all over again. And they lose not only time, but money.
  • By not completing the forms or reading instructions properly, they become increasingly irritated with the court system – and more wary.
  • Sometimes individuals may have a part of their lives on hold while they restart the process.
  • Courts schedule actions, only to have to either dismiss or continue them for another time.
  • Justice is delayed.

Kate did a great job with her presentation. Now we need to pick up where she left off.

Let’s discuss ways to improve access to the courts. Let’s discuss Plain Language. Let’s discuss Self-Help Centers in South Carolina. Then let’s act, together, to make access real.

-RFW

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