In the spring of 2015, the Indiana Supreme Court appointed a 10-member Ad Hoc Assessment Team and charged them with examining the structure of the Indiana Pro Bono Commission, the Indiana Commission to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services, and the Committee on Unrepresented Litigants.
The Assessment Team generated a report recommending merger of the three bodies into one entity with a more focused and comprehensive organizational structure to provide leadership to Indiana’s civil justice system. The creation of this new entity will allow for a clear and integrated vision that addresses all areas of civil legal service delivery. This new entity is called the Coalition for Court Access.
The 17-member Coalition for Court Access will coordinate all Supreme Court related programs designed to provide civil legal aid to those with limited financial resources. The members will look holistically at Indiana’s overall delivery system from the perspective of consumers and providers, including pro bono and paid staff. The Coalition includes judges, law school representatives, civil legal aid and pro bono providers, and Indiana State Bar Association and Indiana Bar Foundation members.
“We need to work together. We know that silos are designed to hold, to contain, to isolate. We cannot afford nor do we want silos. Silos must be dismantled and replaced with pathways to the justice system,” says Supreme Court Justice Steven David who serves as Chairman of the Coalition.
“Indiana’s Coalition for Court Access is focused on ensuring fairness for everyone in the justice system, regardless of individual wealth. One of the Coalition’s goals is to deliver on the Indiana Constitution’s mandate to administer justice freely, completely, and speedily,” says Charles Dunlap, Executive Director of the Indiana Bar Foundation.
The needs of the disadvantaged are greater than ever for legal services in critical areas such as family and housing law. This newly created commission will not only help deliver civil legal services more efficiently and effectively to low income Hoosiers, but it will also create more user-friendly opportunities for attorneys to volunteer their time for pro bono work.