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.
The South Carolina Judicial Department’s Web team compiled over
a year’s worth of e-mailed requests from court staff, the legal community,
and the public to help design the site’s e-mail notification system, through
which Web visitors can sign up to receive opinions, orders, rules, forms,
court news, and more.
This is good news for pre-law students and any others with an interest in civics, but especially low-income people who want to learn about the court system. Information such as this provides necessary education about the court system and assists access to justice.
And thanks again to Techno.la for pointing this out!