Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Task Force on Access to Justice Holds First Meeting

"Image of Yvette McGee Brown

Former Justice Yvette McGee Brown leads the new task force during its first meeting.

Image of Yvette McGee Brown

Former Justice Yvette McGee Brown leads the new task force during its first meeting.

A task force charged by the Ohio Supreme Court to identify obstacles for low-income and disadvantaged Ohioans to access the civil justice system held its first meeting on August 1.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor welcomed the 11-member Task Force on Access to Justice and urged them to review how other states have addressed the issues, including permanent commissions that bring together stakeholders needed to advance and enhance access to justice.

“Thirty-two states have commissions,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “Are there states that mirror Ohio more closely, and can we utilize their lessons-learned and their models?”

Chief Justice O’Connor urged the task force to broaden the definition to not only include those who cannot afford an attorney, but also to those who encounter other barriers to the legal system, such as language barriers.

The task force includes judges, representatives of legal aid organizations, the state public defender, and attorneys in private practice. It is being led by former Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown.

“There was great energy and commitment among the task force members to addressing the barriers to access our legal system,” McGee Brown said after the meeting. “A consistent sentiment is that justice has to be accessible to all, regardless of income or other barriers.”

McGee Brown adds that she would like to have recommendations ready for the Supreme Court to consider in the first quarter of 2015. The task force will meet again on September 12.

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