Nominees Sought for Third Annual Access to Justice Awards
Awards Honor Outstanding Service to Improve Access to Justice in Maryland
(ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Jan. 10, 2013) The Maryland Access to Justice Commission wants to honor those who help improve access to justice in Maryland. The commission is calling for nominations for the third annual Maryland Access to Justice Awards, which recognize outstanding service by judges, individuals within the judiciary and executive branch, legislators and programs.
“Our courts have a huge impact on the lives of our residents, and we want to salute those individuals who go beyond the usual call of duty to enhance the quality of justice for people who encounter barriers when they are dealing with the courts,” said retired Court of Appeals Judge Irma S. Raker, chair of the Maryland Access to Justice Commission.
The Maryland Access to Justice Commission was created in 2008 by Chief Judge Robert M. Bell to improve and expand all people’s access to the state’s civil justice system. A coalition of representatives from Maryland courts, executive branch agencies, legislators, attorneys, social services and faith groups, and legal service providers, the commission recommends changes to improve the ability of all Marylanders to use the courts effectively and to obtain legal help when they need it. It primarily focuses on expanding access to the state’s civil justice system, which includes landlord-tenant cases, divorce, child custody issues, small claims and debt collection, domestic violence and other non-criminal matters.
“The goal of the commission is to enhance the quality of justice in civil legal matters for people who encounter barriers when dealing with the courts or trying to solve legal problems, including the challenges faced by people who represent themselves in court,” said Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn of the District Court of Maryland, vice-chair of the commission. Other barriers include language or literacy issues, challenges due to varying physical abilities, not being able to afford legal help or take time off work to attend to legal issues, or not understanding the civil justice system in Maryland and the resources available.
The commission is currently accepting nominations for five award categories for outstanding contributions that advance access to justice for low- and moderate-income Marylanders:
Nomination forms for each of the categories are available on the commission’s website at http://mdcourts.gov/mdatjc/index.html. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 15.
Email completed forms to email@example.com or mail to the Maryland Access to Justice Commission, 2001-F Commerce Park Drive, Annapolis, Md., 21401.
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