WASHINGTON, DC - State supreme court justices from four states will gather May 21 on Capitol Hill for a Legal Services Corporation (LSC) briefing, “Litigants without Lawyers: Equal Justice under Threat in State Courts.”
Chief Justice Nathan Hecht of the Supreme Court of Texas and Justices Jess Dickinson of Mississippi, Janice Holder of Tennessee, and Carol Hunstein of Georgia will explore the growing problem of unrepresented litigants during a panel discussion moderated by LSC President James J. Sandman.
The hour-long event begins at 1 p.m. in Room 2253, Rayburn House Office Building, 45 Independence Avenue, S.W. Lunch will be provided.
Judges across the country say they are experiencing a spike in the number of unrepresented litigants in civil cases in the wake of the recent economic downturn. Court officials report that large numbers of unrepresented parties slow dockets and reduce efficiency in the administration of justice for everyone who needs to use the court system.
Programs funded by LSC provide legal assistance - at no cost - to eligible low-income Americans who could not otherwise afford an attorney. These grantees help families in a variety of civil matters, such as averting improper evictions and foreclosures, supporting veterans, assisting women and children escape domestic violence, and helping seniors ward off consumer scams. Civil legal aid reduces the number of unrepresented individuals with a wide array of self-help resources, enhancing the fairness, effectiveness, and efficiency of the civil justice system.
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is the single largest funder of civil legal assistance in the country. LSC promotes equal access to justice by funding high-quality civil legal assistance for low-income Americans. LSC currently funds 134 local legal aid programs in every congressional district and five U.S. territories. With 800 offices nationwide, these organizations serve thousands of low-income individuals, children, families, seniors, and veterans in every congressional district.