October 1, 2010
Information Center to Open in Brooke Courthouse Lobby
The Trial Court Access to Justice Initiative has announced that a public information center will open at the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse beginning Monday, October 4, 2010. Volunteers at the help desk will greet court users and assist them with navigating the courthouse, obtaining basic information for filing cases, and finding legal resources.
Judge Dina Fein, Special Advisor to the Trial Court for Access to Justice Initiatives, announced that the Information Center Task Force, under the leadership of Worcester Housing Court First Justice Diana Horan and Boston Municipal Court General Counsel Cynthia Robinson Markey, has developed a plan to operate the help desk with the assistance of volunteers. SJC Senior Attorney Sandy Lundy, Deputy Advisor for the Initiative, worked closely with the Task Force in developing the concept for the center, and identifying and training the volunteers.
“This is an important step in enhancing the accessibility and efficiency of our courts and the judicial system,” said Judge Fein. “The Task Force has done a great job of developing a model that can be replicated across the state, and we look forward to launching additional centers in other locations.”
Judge Horan said, “We have seen great enthusiasm from court staff and the legal community, which underscores the need for this service. Student volunteers with fluency in multiple languages will provide a tremendous asset to the courts and the public.”
The Brooke Courthouse Information Center will be located in the main lobby on the second floor and will operate daily from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It will be staffed by volunteers including college students, law students, and retired professionals. Retired District Court Judge Joseph Dever has volunteered to serve in an oversight role for the information center, and hopes to enlist the assistance of other retired judges.
The Interim Report on Access to Justice Initiatives in the Trial Court in January proposed creation of task forces to focus on Information Desks, Forms, Self-Help Materials, Training, and Limited Assistance Representation. The five task forces, comprised of court personnel and legal community representatives, have been meeting regularly.
The Trial Court Access to Justice Initiative works in collaboration with the Access to Justice Commission appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court. Its mission includes guiding and coordinating resources within the Trial Court to broaden access to civil justice for all litigants, including self-represented litigants, individuals of modest means, those of limited or no English proficiency, and individuals with mental or physical disabilities.