This blog has long urged greater engagement with the political sphere to expand access to justice. So it is good news that the New York City Council has established a Committee on Courts and Legal Services. To quote the press release:
“Every New Yorker is entitled to equal justice under the law, and the Committee on Courts and Legal Services and the City Council will work with community partners and city agencies to identify ways to meet that fundamental goal,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Under the leadership of Chair Rory Lancman, the Committee will examine the demand for legal services and the resources and support needed for the courts to serve our city with integrity. Now more than ever, this is an important step forward and I look forward to commencing hearings in the weeks ahead.”
I hope that the title does not mean that this is going to be just a process for getting more money for community based legal aid, but rather a broader look at access to justice initiatives and the relationship of various levels of government to access.
The reference to the “support needed for the courts to serve or city with integrity” is encouraging. It will be interesting to see the scope of the hearings.