By Jill E. Roberts, Deputy Director, Access to Justice Division, AOIC
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission), and the Access to Justice Division of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC) have launched the application process for two grant initiatives and are extending invitations to join their network of court personnel who assist self-represented litigants (SRLs).
The first grant initiative is for the development and implementation of an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) program. ODR uses technology to facilitate the resolution of disputes usually between parties who are self-represented. ODR may be suitable for resolving a wide range of disputes including consumer, traffic, marital or familial type relationships, and small claims.
The second grant opportunity relates to our Self-Represented Litigant Coordinator (Coordinator) program. Over the past five years, Coordinators have used grant funds to develop a range of innovative projects from repurposing courthouse space for help desks and improving signage materials to creating early resolution programs that resolve divorce cases more quickly or partnering with legal aid agencies for courthouse-based help desks.
Lastly, even if a grant is not awarded or requested, a designated staff member may participate in the Court Navigator Network (Network) which will include any interested clerk or court staff members, Coordinator grant recipients, and Illinois JusticeCorps fellows. Network members will serve as a bridge, linking their courthouses with others throughout the state to share ideas, develop new resources, and establish programs for assisting SRLs.
The Requests for Proposals can be found at: https://www.illinoiscourts.gov/eservices/committees-and-commissions/supreme-court-commission-on-access-to-justice.
If you are interested in applying for grant funds, or want to know more about the programs, we are holding an information session via Zoom on Thursday, May 26 at 3:00pm. We will explain the application requirements, grant process and obligations, common issues to avoid, and ideas for projects. You can join by:
The deadline for the applications for both grant programs is June 21, 2022. Questions are welcome anytime and should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.