Judiciary Education & Conference Center, 2011 Commerce Park Drive, Annapolis, Maryland, January 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Ex officio: Tammy M. Brown, designee of Governor; Joshua N. Auerbach, designee of Attorney General; Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., Senate President; Kathleen M. Dumais, designee of House Speaker.
Pamela C. Ortiz, Esq., Executive Director
Judiciary Education & Conference Center, 2011-D Commerce Park Drive, Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 260-1258; fax: (410) 260-3560
In October 2008, the Maryland Access to Justice Commission was initiated by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. Commission duties and functions in March 2010 were authorized by Administrative Order for three years. In April 2013, the Chief Judge extended the Commission indefinitely, and incresed its membership to forty-six.
The Commission coordinated efforts of the Maryland judicial system to improve and expand all people's access to the State's civil justice system, including access for those of limited means and those who choose to represent themselves in court without legal assistance.
To strengthen the legal services delivery system and better assist litigants representing themselves, the Commission developed and implemented policy, and identified and addressed existing barriers to civil justice, such as language, literacy, and cultural differences. The Commission also promoted public education and comprehension of the civil justice system.
For the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Commission administered the process by which all practicing lawyers in Maryland annually are required to submit a lawyer pro bono legal service report.
In November 2009, the Commission submitted an interim report to the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. Among other barriers, the report cited insufficient funding of legal services for the poor which leaves many without meaningful access to the courts or the help they need to resolve their legal problems.
By Administrative Order, the Commission was disbanded effective December 31, 2014. Much of its work was assumed by the Access to Justice Department of the Administrative Office of the Courts.
CRITICAL BARRIERS COMMITTEE
Cathy Hollenberg Serrette, Chair
DEFINITIONS, STANDARDS & AWARDS COMMITTEE
Katherine Kelly Howard, Esq., Chair
PUBLIC EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Herbert S. Garten, Esq., Chair
SAFETY, ACCESSIBILITY & CONVENIENCE COMMITTEE
Joseph P. Rosenthal, Chair
The Safety, Accessibility and Convenience Committee completed its work in March 2011. It had reviewed security assessments for each court location and evaluated the physical access to court buildings for persons with disabilities.
SELF-REPRESENTED LITIGANTS COMMITTEE
Michael A. Millemann, Chair
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