Shriver Civil Counsel Act Implementation Committee

Purpose:
Makes recommendations on which pilot projects will be selected and provides input into the design of the pilot projects evaluations, which are required by the authorizing legislation.

Date Established: September 1, 2010

August 1, 2014 (Closed Meeting)
12:00 to 1:30 p.m.


2014 Shriver Civil Counsel Act Implementation Committee Meetings

The 15-member advisory committee is Chaired by Justice Earl Johnson, Jr. (Ret.), the committee includes a sitting or retired Judge, representatives from the judiciary, legal services providers, family law facilitator or self-help center office, law school, the Chamber of Commerce, State Bar, and business community. Liaisons from Presiding Judges, Court Executives, Access and Fairness, Civil and Small Claims, Probate, Family and Juvenile Law Advisory Committees and the Domestic Violence Practice and Procedures and Self Represented Task Forces.
 

MEMBERS:

Hon. Earl Johnson, Jr. (Ret.), Chair
Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal

Mr. Kevin G. Baker
Deputy Chief Counsel for the
Committee on the Judiciary
California State Assembly

Ms. Mary Lavery Flynn
Director, Office of Legal Services
State Bar of California

Ms. Erika Frank
General Counsel
California Chamber of Commerce

Hon. Terry B. Friedman (Ret.)

Ms. Pauline W. Gee
Deputy Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General

Ms. Luz E. Herrera
Professor
University of California Los Angeles
School of Law

Hon. James R. Lambden (Ret.)
Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal
First Appellate District, Division Two

Ms. S. Lynn Martinez
Western Center on Law and Poverty

Mr. John F. O'Toole
Director
National Center for Youth Law

Ms. Clare Pastore
Professor of the Practice of Law
University of Southern California
Gould School of Law

Mr. Thomas Smegal
Law Offices of Thomas F. Smegal, Jr.

Ms. Alicia Valdez-Wright
Family Law Facilitator
Superior Court of California,
County of San Luis Obispo

Ms. Julia R. Wilson
Executive Director
One Justice

Hon. Laurie D. Zelon
Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal
Second Appellate District, Division Seven

AOC Lead Committee Staff

Ms. Bonnie Rose Hough
Managing Attorney
Center for Families, Children & the Courts
Administrative Office of the Courts

Mr. Don Will
Manager
Center for Families, Children & the Courts
Administrative Office of the Courts

AOC Staff to the Committee

Ms. Karen Cannata
Supervising Research Analyst
Center for Families, Children & the Courts
Administrative Office of the Courts

Background

The Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act (Assem. Bill 590 [Feuer]; Stats. 2009 ch. 457) provides that commencing in fiscal year 2011–2012, one or more pilot projects selected by the Judicial Council will be funded to provide legal representation to low-income parties on critical legal issues affecting basic human needs. The pilot projects will be operated by legal services nonprofit corporations working in collaboration with their local superior courts.

The purpose of the pilot projects is to improve timely and effective access to justice in civil cases and thereby avoid undue risk of erroneous court decisions resulting from the nature and complexity of the law in the specific proceeding or the disparities between parties in legal representation, education, sophistication, language proficiency, and access to self-help or alternative dispute resolution services.

Selected legal services agencies will provide representation to low-income Californians who are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level and need representation in one or more of the following areas:

  • Housing-related matters;
  • Domestic violence and civil harassment restraining orders;
  • Elder abuse;
  • Guardianship of the person;
  • Probate conservatorship; or
  • Child custody actions by a parent seeking sole legal or physical custody of a child, particularly where the opposing side is represented.

 

To the extent practical, legal services agencies must make use of pro bono services from attorneys.

Selected court partners will implement improved court procedures, training, case management and administration methods, and best practices to ensure that unrepresented parties in the proposed case types have meaningful access to court, to guard against the involuntary waiver of rights or the disposition of cases by default, and to encourage fair and expeditious voluntary dispute resolution consistent with principles of judicial neutrality.

The statute provides that “the participating projects shall be selected by a committee appointed by the Judicial Council with representation from key stakeholder groups including judicial officers, legal services providers, and others, as appropriate. The committee shall assess the applicants’ capacity for success, innovation and efficiency, including, but not limited to, the likelihood that the project would deliver quality representation in an effective manner that would meet critical needs in the community and address the needs of the court with regard to access to justice and calendar management, and the unique local unmet needs for representation in the community.”

The Shriver Civil Counsel Act Implementation Committee was appointed by the Judicial Council to review applications and make recommendations about funding.

The Judicial Council is conducting a study to demonstrate the effectiveness and continued need for the pilot program and will report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature on or before January 31, 2016. The study will report on the percentage of funding utilized by case type and will include data on the impact of counsel on equal access to justice, the effect on court administration and efficiency, and the level of enhanced coordination between courts and other government service providers and community resources. The report will describe the benefits of providing representation to those who were previously not represented, both for the clients and the courts, as well as strategies and recommendations for maximizing the benefit of that representation in the future. The report will describe and include data, if available, on the impact of the pilot program on families and children and will also include an assessment of the continuing unmet needs and, if available, data on those unmet needs.


Contact Information

Center for Families, Children & the Courts
Judicial and Court Operations Services Division
Administrative Office of the Courts 
ShriverCommittee@jud.ca.gov

 

Site Map | Careers | Contact Us | Accessibility | Public Access to Records | Terms of Use | Privacy