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Supreme Court seeks public comment on justice liaisons

The Kansas Supreme Court is seeking public comment on the implementation of justice liaisons.
The Kansas Supreme Court is seeking public comment on the implementation of justice liaisons.(None)
Published: Jun. 27, 2020 at 12:44 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Supreme Court is looking for public comment on a proposed rule creating justice liaisons.

The Kansas Supreme Court says it is asking for public comment on a proposed rule that directs chief judges of the Court of Appeals and each judicial district to designate two liaisons to work with the court’s Acess to Justice Committee advancing its efforts to remove barriers and promote equity within the state.

The Court says it will be accepting comments on the rule until 5 p.m. on Monday, July 27, and comments can be made to publiccomments@kscourts.org with the subject line reading Rule 1403.

The Rule says it seeks to assure access to justice is promoted uniformly at all levels of the court system and requires the Court of Appeals and each judicial district to appoint one judge and one court employee to serve as local liaisons to the Access to Justice Committee.

“By designating access to justice liaisons in each judicial district and the Court of Appeals, we hope to provide a conduit for sharing information, seeking feedback, and providing a network for discussing access to justice issues all courts face,” says District Judge Erica Schoenig, chair of the Access to Justice Committee. “Any effort to remove barriers to access to justice must include all courts to be successful, and this moves us in that direction.”

Schoening serves Johnson County in the 10th Judicial District.

The Court says the idea for justice liaisons came from the committee’s review of a study conducted by the National Center for State Courts funded by a State Justice Institute grant. The Kansas Judicial Branch Assessment of Self-Represented Litigant Services emphasizes the need for collaboration between courts to further the adoption of high-quality self-help services.

The Court says the report also shows the shifting user base in courts with fewer parties in civil cases being represented by lawyers. Judges and staff say they can recommend resources for the self-represented litigants but are not allowed to give legal advice. The Rule states the liaisons will help all courts and the Access to Justice Committee better understand the needs of these individuals and how to best address them.

The Court says the Access to Justice Committee is composed of 18 members from attorneys, judges and laypeople. The Court created it in Kansas Supreme Court Rule 1401 in order to make recommendations to the Court about eliminating barriers to equity in justice, improving legal service delivery, and increasing resources available for legal services to low-income litigants in civil cases.

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