The purpose of the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice is to study the unmet civil legal needs of disadvantaged, low-income, and moderate-income Floridians. The Commission encompasses the viewpoints of multiple constituencies and stakeholders and is not limited to those of any one particular institution. The Commission considers Florida’s legal assistance delivery system as a whole, including but not limited to staffed legal aid programs, resources and support for self-represented litigants, limited scope representation, pro bono services, innovative technology solutions, and other models and potential innovations.
The Commission was originally established for a term to expire on June 30, 2016, and tasked, among other things, with making recommendations on the need for a permanent access to justice commission in Florida. In its June 30, 2016, report the Commission recommended that it be reappointed on a continuing basis, as a means to enhance its effectiveness in addressing the long-term and complex barriers that create difficulties for those Floridians seeking meaningful access to civil justice. The Supreme Court concurred with this recommendation and the Commission has been re-established as a permanent standing committee. View the Administrative Orders
Critical to Commission’s work is its partnership with the recently created Council of Business Partners, comprised of executives and legal counsel for several corporations and a law professor. The Council is also assisted by selected members of the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) of The Florida Bar.
Together the Council and YLD members will support the Commission in enhancing access to civil justice by:
- Engaging the business community, educating that community on the legal challenges its employees face, and empowering that community and its employees with tools and resources to better understand legal issues and more easily access and navigate the civil justice system.
- Serving as an important feedback loop between the business community and the Commission.
- Critically reviewing proposals advanced by the Commission’s Committees.
- Leveraging the resources of the business community to bring fresh perspectives and innovative ways of problem-solving to government processes.
- Promoting the Commission and its efforts while garnering support and resources to advance access to civil justice in Florida.
“Florida needs a coordinated effort involving all of the entities with the potential to make permanent, systemic advances to ensure that access to justice in Florida is not limited to those who can afford it. I am particularly concerned about the circumstances facing low-income litigants for whom purchasing legal representation can pose an impossible challenge, but access to civil justice is also a problem for the middle class, many of whom do not qualify for legal aid and cannot afford to hire a lawyer.” Justice Jorge Labarga, Florida Supreme Court