More information is now available about the new “Justice For All” project which will support the access to justice services strategic planning process urged upon the states by the Conference of Chief Justices Resolution. (Disclosure; I am involved with the Project.)
As explained about goals:
The project aims to encourage state efforts that include all relevant stakeholders in the civil justice community—courts, access to justice commissions, legal aid, the private bar—in a partnership to implement CCJ/COSCA Resolution 5 (Meaningful Access to Justice for All). The Resolution envisions state systems in which everyone has access to meaningful and effective assistance for their civil legal needs through a comprehensive approach that provides a continuum of meaningful and appropriate services.
The latest document also provides a lot more information about the tools and materials that will be developed to assist this process.
An expert working group will develop guidance materials outlining and providing information about the key components of services and capabilities that states should have in place to achieve access to justice for all. The materials will contemplate a mix of services, as highlighted in the Resolution, for states to consider in their particular contexts (e.g., self-help services to litigants, new or modified court rules and processes that facilitate access, discrete task representation by counsel, pro bono assistance, effective use of technology, increased availability of legal aid services, enhanced language access services, enhanced coordination with the human services sector, and triage models to match specific needs to the appropriate level of services).
The working group will provide a template for a strategic action plan, including the basic outline for the possible plan, along with the menu of options and service alternatives for states to consider to fill the identified gaps in services in their states. The expert group will also provide a template for a state assessment/inventory to help states identify the services and capability components they do and do not have, and consider how to address gaps in services to better meet the legal aid needs of all. Related guidance materials will be provided. Templates and guidance materials will be available for all states.
As to the time schedule for grants and technical assistance:
o Late May: Justice for All RFP release
o Early September: RFP return deadline
o Mid-October: Grant awarded
o Early-mid 2017: Technical assistance funding finalized and processed
This is something that all players in all access to justice communities should be following very closely. Resolutions are often criticized for being nothing more than words. This kind of concrete action has every potential to be make the Resolution a tipping point.