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"No issue is more fundamental to the courts’ constitutional mission than ensuring equal justice for all. The availability of affordable legal representation for low-income New Yorkers is indispensable to our ability to carry out that mission.” -- Hon. Jonathan Lippman

The Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York was created by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman in 2010 as part of his effort to establish a comprehensive approach to providing counsel to low-income New Yorkers in civil cases.

(See Chief Judge Lippman's Law Day address.)

The Task Force’s mission has two components. The first concerns the Chief Judge’s annual hearings to assess the unmet needs for legal representation in civil legal proceedings involving fundamental human needs. The Task Force provides both support to the Chief Judge in preparation for the hearings and assistance to him in developing his report and recommendations to the Legislature and the Executive about the level of public resources necessary to meet those needs.

The second part of the Task Force’s mission concerns the expansion of access to civil legal services and the improvement of access to justice generally. The Task Force will have ongoing responsibility to study, analyze and develop recommendations on all aspects of civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers; to issue recommendations for improvement; and to collaborate on access to justice issues, including expanded pro bono services and help for unrepresented litigants, with Hon. Fern Fisher, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for New York City Courts, who also holds statewide responsibility for the court system’s access to justice programs.