|Why We Care - Inadequate Funding for the Courts Hurts Everyone
The Bar Association encourages members to continue speaking out to neighbors, community leaders and legislators about the importance of adequate funding for the courts and the problems of denying access to justice for NH citizens.
The State Budget Crisis page provide links to recent news articles and information from the Judicial Branch, including the lawsuit against the state this fall.
What's Your Story of Client Impact?
Without violating client confidences, can you provide examples of how court operations at current funding levels are affecting clients? Or provide your comments regarding proposed closings of court locations? Submit your comments now.
♦ Testimony of Mark Gearreald, Hampton Town Attorney
♦ Testimony of Margaret Kerouac, Family Law Section Chair
♦ Family Law Listserv responses, 2009
What You Can Do
During this election season, Bar members concerned about access to justice can speak to candidates or incumbent members of the Legislature. These leaders need to hear from you; they need to know how these cuts are hurting people and damaging our justice system.
While legislators are faced with tough decisions, the legal community needs to continue to speaking up for justice.
The Bar Association is not a party to the lawsuit against the state seeking adequate funding, but it does support the aims of the lawsuit.
Talking Points on Adequate Funding for Judicial Branch
The Bar Association encourages prompt attention to the issue of providing adequate resources for the courts.
The Bar Association was consulted on participating in the lawsuit. The attorneys bringing the lawsuit decided to properly put the focus on individuals who have suffered actual harm by being blocked from timely attention and remedies from our state courts.
Thus, the Board of Governors did not vote on whether to join the suit.
The Bar Association supports the aims of the lawsuit. The experiences of the plaintiffs who were denied justice are unfortunately all too commonplace. There is no doubt in our minds inadequate resources have been devoted to administration of justice in recent years, and in the past year in particular.
Judges have left and no one is appointed to replace them. Administrative staff has been pared back and while it appears there may be more efficient ways to deploy them, there are tradeoffs in providing convenient access to citizens. Also, centralization and automation require investments in technology and technology which have been sacrificed in recent years.
The Bar Association hopes to play a constructive role in encouraging prompt resolution of this issue. Litigation is time-consuming-- especially when the courts are so congested already. This litigation serves the worthy purpose of focusing attention to the issue; it compels action. We urgently hope, and offer our help and support as the unified voice of the legal community, in encouraging the state and the plaintiffs to negotiate immediate steps to keep courthouses open and to keep the justice process moving.
The Bar Association is using its resources and expertise to share information and ideas. Our members are on the frontlines of the justice system and have special insights about problems and potential solutions.
We applaud the initial steps of the Judicial Branch Innovation Commission. This group isre-examining the structure and processes of our justice system with an eye on greater efficiencies without sacrificing access. The details have not fully emerged of these recommendations. The Bar Association will assist however it can in disseminating the recommendations to members and the public. While the Commission has some attorney representation, the majority of its members are not practicing attorneys who represent clients who experience the judicial process every day.
The Bar Association supports more efficient courts. Our members know all too well the impact of slow or inconsistent judicial processes on citizens going to court. Our members have valuable perspectives and insights the Bar Association will assist in state in considering how reengineer the court system without sacrificing essential needs of a fair and consistent judicial process and meaningful convenient access.
Chief Justice Broderick addresses budget issues in a packed hearing room at the Legislative Office Building on April 13.
Background and Related Information
♦ Tips for Building Community Support
♦ ABA Commission on State Court Funding
♦ Archived version of a webcast with Chief Justice Broderick, 4/14
The program is free, thanks to our online partner, Legalspan.