Access to Justice Commission to meet on September 3 in Jackson

August 28, 2019

The Mississippi Access to Justice Commission will meet on Sept. 3 at 10 a.m. at the Mississippi Bar Center at 643 North State Street in Jackson.

The Commission, created by the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2006, works to develop a unified strategy to improve access to justice in civil legal proceedings for the poor in Mississippi.

The Commission is expected to discuss several projects that are underway.

The 2019 effort to conduct free civil legal assistance clinics in every court district is on track to surpass last year’s effort. At least 834 people have received free legal assistance at more than 45 free legal clinics that have been conducted this year across the state, according to Access to Justice Commission Executive Director Nicole McLaughlin. At least 11 more free legal clinics are scheduled. The schedule of upcoming clinics across the state is at this link:

The American Bar Association in July presented the Mississippi Bar with the 2019 Harrison Tweed Award in recognition of efforts to improve civil legal services to people living in poverty. In 2018, free family law clinics were held in every judicial district in the state. More than 450 Mississippi lawyers provided more than 1,300 hours of free legal services to 850 people in need. Legal clinic events were organized and supported by the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission, chancellors and their staffs, the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project, Legal Services offices, local bar associations and volunteer lawyers.

Members of the Access to Justice Commission are working to produce self-help videos to assist people who can’t afford to hire a lawyer. People who represent themselves without the assistance of an attorney, called pro se litigants, struggle with court proceedings. The videos, which will be developed within the context of family law proceedings, are expected to deal with subjects such as how to file a case in the clerk’s office, how to set a case for a hearing, how to subpoena a witness, how to serve process, how to offer testimony at trial, and courtroom etiquette.