(a) There is established the Permanent Commission on Access to Justice (“Commission”).
(b) It shall be the purpose of the Commission to assess the nature, extent and consequences of unmet civil legal needs, statewide, involving essential human needs, and to report on those findings and make recommendations to the Chief Judge with the goal of helping secure equal access to justice in civil legal matters by increasing availability of civil legal services throughout New York State, as well as encouraging increased pro bono service by the legal community and helping to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of civil legal services.
(c) The Chief Judge shall appoint the Chair of the Commission and such other members, of which there shall be no less than 30, to serve at the pleasure of the Chief Judge. The Commission shall meet, as needed, and work in subcommittees, as necessary, to carry out its mandate.
(d) The Commission shall assist in the conducting of hearings related to the Commission’s mandate, collect statistics and analyze data, and conduct such additional and further research as necessary to identify the extent of unmet civil legal needs, the types of civil legal matters in which legal services are most lacking, and propose standards for eligibility for such services; and to make recommendations for addressing unmet civil legal needs, including the provision of adequate funding for civil legal service providers. It also shall work with civil legal service providers and related stakeholders to foster efficiencies and best practices, and with the courts in support of Court Access to Justice initiatives.
(e) The Commission shall issue annual reports to the Chief Judge containing its findings and recommendations. The Commission may also issue additional reports, hold conferences, and perform such further and additional functions as may be deemed appropriate and necessary to fulfill its mandate to help assure adequate legal assistance in civil legal proceedings.
Added 51.1 June 3, 2015