Recently Chief Justice Toal of the Supreme Court of South Carolina delivered two important speeches; one to the SC Bar at their annual convention at Kiawah, and one to the SC House Ways and Means.
The takeaway? The financial crisis is taking its toll on the efficiency of the courts. While this may seem like a “duh” moment to many and a “d’oh” moment to others, the repercussions to access to justice could be devastating.
Let’s support our courts and keep access to our courts.
South Carolina is not the first state to form an Access to Justice Commission, and it is certainly not the last. Moreover, the United States is not the only country to recognize that many of its citizens are not getting the legal assistance they seek.
Here’s a link to see what Australia’s been up to: http://www.acoss.org.au/upload/publications/papers/info%20353_legal%20aid.pdf
It seems as though Australia is facing issues quite similar to those that we face here in the U.S.
But ATJ initiatives are not limited to first world countries. For instance, Pakistan has been funding its Access to Justice Programme (AJP) since 2001. Thus far, Pakistan’s AJP has distributed pamphlets on a variety of topics such as consumer protection and how to acquire a national ID card and has revised Ombudsman laws in an effort to inform citizens of the services the Ombudsman’s office can provide, among other things. Unfortunately, all of the articles I found about the Pakistan’s AJP are not available to the public.