Committees of the
Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission 2021-2022
This committee oversees the work of the Commission overall, the work of the committees, and the annual report to the Supreme Judicial Court.
Access to Lawyers Committee
This committee seeks to increase access to attorneys for litigants who are either below the poverty level or above the poverty threshold, but still lack income sufficient to be able to afford a lawyer. Efforts include promoting use of fee-shifting statutes and Limited Assistance Representation, understanding what impacts current use and exploring avenues to increase use in both pro bono and for-fee models.
Consumer Debt Committee
This committee engages in a range of systemic reform efforts concerning the practice of consumer debt law, including many of the reforms suggested in the Justice for All Strategic Action Plan, and advice related to emerging issues in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and statewide Lawyer for the Day programs.
COVID-19 Task Force Leadership Committee
This committee addresses issues related to the impact of COVID-19 on court processes, including barriers to access created by courts’ transition to a hybrid of remote and in-person proceedings, with a focus on three areas with a high turnout of self-represented litigants: consumer debt, housing and family law. The committee includes leadership from the Commission’s Ecosystem, Consumer Debt, Housing and Family Law Committees.
This committee focuses on identifying improvements in our statewide delivery system that would foster collaboration and coordination among the various individuals, organizations, institutions, materials, technologies, practices, and infrastructure that comprise the legal help ecosystem. A key part of this strategy is engaging and sharing legal information with social services providers and advocates as a way to reach self-represented litigants, an agenda which has been advanced recently through our COVID-19 Task Force. This committee also has a specific focus on utilizing technology as a tool to increase access to justice.
Family Law Committee
This committee engages in a range of related systemic reform efforts concerning the substantive practice of family law, addressing many of the reforms suggested in the Justice for All Strategic Action Plan, as well as continued focus on emerging issues.
This committee engages in a range of related systemic reform efforts concerning the substantive practice of housing law, with a particular focus on summary process (eviction), addressing many of the reforms suggested in the Justice for All Strategic Action Plan, as well as continued focus on emerging issues.
Racial Equity and Justice Committee
This committee focuses on issues regarding racial equity and justice both in connection with the Commission’s internal membership and processes as well as its external activities.
Revenue Enhancement Committee
This committee identifies ways to increase the funding of civil legal aid through innovative means, including investigating new sources of state, federal, foundation, and private philanthropy funding.