Massachusetts Justice for All Grant Recipient
In November 2016, Massachusetts was awarded a grant under the Justice for All Project. The grants support each state awardee in forming partnerships with all relevant stakeholders in the civil justice community and to develop state assessments and strategic action plans to implement Resolution 5. Resolution 5, passed by the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators, supports the goal of 100 percent access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs and urges the National Center for State Courts as well as other national organizations to develop tools and provided assistance to states in achieving the goal of 100 percent access through a continuum of meaningful and appropriate services. Furthermore, the project seeks to enhance the commitment of the states to reimagine how to work across organizational boundaries and optimize resources to advance access to justice for all.
On December 22, 2017, Massachusetts completed its Justice For All Strategic Action Plan and now looks forward to the implementation phase of the Initiative. To assess justice needs, Massachusetts created a large project management team that divided into four working groups and held four regional meetings for service providers. The state is focused on developing a comprehensive database that would share information and resources (“legal navigation and referral tools”). Massachusetts will also expand the reach of self-help resources, increase its emphasis on pro bono representation, and recognize the role that non-lawyers can play in assisting litigants in gathering facts and information. The state is committed to simplifying legal procedures and forms to improve the experience of self-represented litigants, and the state has specific and detailed recommendations tailored to housing, consumer debt, and family law cases. Massachusetts is also focused on empowering people to learn about their legal rights and remedies to facilitate their access to justice.
This project is supported by the Public Welfare Foundation and housed at the National Center for State Courts.