Providing access to civil legal services for low-income Hoosiers will be the focus of a commission established by order of the Indiana Supreme Court.
The order dated Sept. 23 and posted on the court’s website Wednesday outlines a commission that advocates have proposed for improving access to justice. The body will be known as the Indiana Commission to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services.
The 17-member commission is tasked with developing a five-year plan to “improve and enhance the availability and effective provision of civil legal services to low-income or otherwise disadvantaged Indiana residents,” according to the order. This must be done within a year of the group’s initial meeting.
The commission also is chartered to recommend improvements in “communications, promptness, efficiency, courtesy, and other qualities of service” to court users.
“A group of Indiana stakeholders has approached the Indiana Supreme Court and urged the Court to create a broad-based commission to work toward a goal of expanding the availability and provision of civil legal services to Indiana residents with limited financial resources,” the order says, noting more than half the states have such panels commonly referred to as “access to justice” commissions.
The commission will meet at least quarterly and meetings will be open to the public. The Supreme Court will appoint members according to the composition of the commission outlined in the order, and the court also will select the group’s initial chair and vice-chair.
“The establishment of the Commission is not intended to replace other entities offering services supporting the availability of legal services to poor or other disadvantaged Indiana residents,” the order says, noting it will cooperate with other various stakeholders.