History

The Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission was created by order of the Supreme Judicial Court in 2005 to provide leadership, vision and coordination for the many organizations dedicated to improving access to justice for all persons in the Commonwealth who are unable to afford counsel for their essential civil legal needs.

The Supreme Judicial Court order in 2005 created a five-year mandate (the “First Commission”), and then reauthorized the Commission for another 5 years in 2010 (the “Second Commission”). In 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court re-established the Commission as a permanent body subject to review at five-year intervals (the “Third Commission/Permanent Commission”).

The Supreme Judicial Court appoints Commissioners representing a wide range of access to justice stakeholders in the Commonwealth.

Each year the Commission provides a detailed account of its activities and accomplishments in its Annual Reports which are available in the library. Other Commission and Collaborative Reports relating to Commission initiatives are also located in the library.

The Commission has thrived over the years due to its dedicated volunteer Commissioners and Commission leaders.

First Commission (2005-2010)

Honorable Herbert P. Wilkins, Chief Justice (ret.), Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Chair
James T. Van Buren, Esq., Vice-Chair

Second Commission (2010-2015)

The late Honorable Ralph D. Gants, Chief Justice, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Co-Chair
David W. Rosenberg, Esq., Co-Chair

Third Commission/Permanent Commission (2015-Present)

Honorable Geraldine S. Hines, Associate Justice, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Co-Chair (2015-2017)
Susan M. Finegan, Esq., Co-Chair (2015-2021)
The late Honorable Ralph D. Gants, Former Chief Justice, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Co-Chair (2017-2020)
Honorable Serge Georges, Jr., Associate Justice, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Co-Chair (2021-2024)
Marijane Benner Browne, Esq., Co-Chair (2021-2024)
Laura Gal Esq., Co-Chair (2021-2022)