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Bar News - March 19, 2010

Why We Care - Inadequate Funding for the Courts Hurts Everyone

The NHBA is updating and adding new material to a series of pages at our website to provide Bar members and the public with a place to find information and commentary on the state of our courts in a time of financial strain.

The title "Why We Care" reflects the concern of the legal community that financial cutbacks do not cripple the ability of the court system to deliver on its constitutional responsibilities to provide the citizens of New Hampshire with timely access to justice.

We also are asking Bar members to provide concrete examples of how the cutbacks and closures of the courts are having real-life impacts on people’s lives.

The following is an abbreviated version of a recent comment submitted by a Bar member:

‘System is completely broken’

I am a partner at[ a MANCHESTER LAW FIRM] and my practice is primarily in family law. The system is completely broken down in various courthouses

in NH. For example, I filed a divorce petition and request for expedited temporary hearing for a client in mid-November 2009. In early, March, the court sent orders of notice. Temporary hearing scheduled for later in March. I understand that it may be many months before my client can get a hearing. In that same courthouse, I have been waiting since October for a new final hearing date for a case that has now been pending for over one year.

Orders are usually written or dictated by the judges promptly but then sit for many months.

This is terrible for clients who need child support, who are being prevented from seeing their children and all of the basic needs that people have with regards to this most personal aspect of the judicial system. The system is completely broken.

I fear that the loss of Judge Barry and Mangones and the staff furloughs will make an already broken system come to a complete halt. Something has got to be done.
– A Manchester lawyer

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