A pilot program that funds free legal services for low-income Californians facing critical civil cases drastically increased the likelihood of settlement, improved the longevity of court orders, and reduced court costs, a new study shows.
Facing growing numbers of civil and family law litigants representing themselves, courts are expanding services offered through “self-help” centers.
The Judicial Council received a report on how the state’s trial courts used additional funding included in this fiscal year’s judicial branch budget to expand hours, reopen closed locations, and invest in new technology to increase access to justice for the public.
The budget cuts $200 million from the state court system, though $150 million could be restored if the federal government sends additional aid by the fall.
Governor Jerry Brown signed a state budget on Wednesday that will help restore court services slashed during the recession, fund courthouse projects, and improve access to justice for millions of Californians.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed a budget that includes $1.2 billion in new funding for the judicial branch, including restoring $200 million in previous cuts and making major investments in judicial branch programs improving access to justice.