The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice is pleased to announce the 2023 recipients of two awards – the Hon. Thomas L. Kilbride (Ret.) Judicial Access to Justice Award and the Jeffrey D. Colman Access to Justice Award.
Justice Mary K. Rochford is the 2023 recipient of The Hon. Thomas L. Kilbride (Ret.) Judicial Access to Justice Award. This award is given to a member of the judiciary who has made a significant or meaningful contribution to increasing access to the court system by improving the experience of litigants.
Justice Rochford was appointed to the Commission in 2012 and became the Chair of the Commission in 2015, a position she held until June of 2023. During her tenure, she accomplished innumerable deliverables that moved the needle of justice towards greater access. A few of her many achievements include:
- Leading the successful effort to create statewide, standardized, legal court forms
- Promulgating the Illinois Supreme Court Language Access Policy and Illinois Supreme Court Policy on Assistance to Court Patrons by Circuit Clerks, Court Staff, Law Librarians and Court Volunteers
- Increasing support for the Illinois JusticeCorps program
- Launching the Court Navigator Network, the Access to Justice Court Improvement Grant Program, and Illinois Court Help
Nicole “Nikki” Ticknor is the 2023 recipient of the Jeffrey D. Colman Access to Justice Award. This award is given to a lawyer, paralegal, or court employee who has made a significant or meaningful contribution to improving access to our court system for litigants who are self-represented, limited English proficient, disabled, or otherwise vulnerable.
Nikki serves as the Deputy Court Administrator and Family Violence Coordinated Council Coordinator at the Winnebago County Courthouse. In this role, she has used education and collaboration to challenge the status quo and inspire all who work with her to make the justice system more accessible. She has created system-wide changes pertaining to how the justice system responds to intimate partner violence. Specifically, she has implemented policies and procedures focused on offender accountability, victim safety, and informed decision-making. Developing countless educational opportunities for judges, clerks, court staff, bailiffs, prosecutors, public defenders, advocates, and victim service providers, Nikki has helped all court stakeholders improve the experience of domestic violence survivors in the courthouse. She has also developed videos for court users that explain the process of applying to obtain a protective order, the plenary trial, and services available in the community.