Statewide task force releases plan to create better access to civil justice system

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– The Justice for All Task Force, which formed in May of 2019, has worked to develop a comprehensive and strategic plan to address and fill gaps in the civil justice system. The goal is to create 100 percent access to justice.

“Courts have to be welcoming places where people can solve problems and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. The report we’re releasing today is the map to a future where these ideas and many others are nurtured and where community organizations collaborate to help them bloom over and over again all across our state,” said Michigan Supreme Court Justice Mary McCormack.

The goal of the task force is to help more families get the legal assistance they need on a wide range of issues, including eviction, access to public benefits, barriers to employment, family law disputes like parenting time or custody, elder abuse, and more.

“The process and procedure of the legal system makes it difficult, if not at times impossible for those without access to legal resources to get a fair shot. The bottom line is that there are a variety of obstacles that block good, hard-working people in need of legal assistance from obtaining the help they need,” said Mich. Supreme Court Justice Brian Zahra.

The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants Americans the right to a lawyer in criminal cases. That right does not extend to civil cases, but in many instances, civil proceedings can have very serious consequences for parties.

“Justice for All is the process of making our civil justice system accessible and understandable to our neighbors throughout our communities and to the people in every corner of Michigan,” Justice Zahra said.

The task force said the next step in these efforts is to create a Justice for All Commission, which the court hopes to launch early next year. The full plan and report can be viewed here.

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