October 28, 2019
The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts announced Oct. 17 that it will receive a $100,000 grant from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) as part of the Justice for All (JFA) project. The Illinois Courts’ Access to Justice Commission (ATJ) will use the funds to support a strategic action planning effort to expand access to justice in Illinois.
JFA grants, which are funded by The JPB Foundation, The Public Welfare Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Open Society Foundations, were created in an effort to implement two advanced resolutions: meaningful access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs and for traditional and non-traditional stakeholders to collaborate to develop a comprehensive approach to achieve meaningful access to justice.
"The ATJ Commission appreciates the opportunities presented by the grant to increase the impact of our endeavors to achieve equal access and to build stronger community trust and relationships with the courts,” said Justice Mary K. Rochford, Chair of the Access to Justice Commission. “We are honored to have been chosen for this grant."
The JFA Advisory Committee also awarded grants to Louisiana and Michigan. The JFA initiative is housed at the NCSC. Fifteen states applied for planning grants in this round and 11 additional states have previously received JFA grants.
“Too many people see the civil justice system as remote, complex, and unresponsive to their needs. The Justice for All grant can help bridge that divide and bring new voices and new ideas to the search for solutions," said Mark Marquardt, Executive Director for the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois.
The ATJ Commission applied for the grant with the support from Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier, AOIC Director Marcia M. Meis, The Chicago Bar Foundation, The Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation: Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network, Metropolitan Family Services, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Chicago, Kane County Law Library Self-Help Center, Illinois Legal Aid Online, Prairie State Legal Services, and Legal Aid Chicago.
The ATJ Commission, established in 2012 by the Illinois Supreme Court, is charged with promoting, facilitating and enhancing equal access to justice with an emphasis on access to the Illinois civil courts and administrative agencies for all people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.