Last week the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued an order creating a state Access to Justice Commission, joining 30 other U.S. States and the District of Columbia. Here’s an announcement from Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, and here’s a brief Tulsa World article.
- The Commission will have seven voting members, appointed by the Supreme Court and drawn from the judiciary (3, including 1 Supreme Court Justice), the state bar (1), and the legal aid community (1). Two of the seven will also be at-large choices.
- The Commission’s funding will be managed by the Administrative Office of the Courts, which will also provide staff support.
- With one coach and six players, the Commission will function as the Oklahoma Judicial Branch’s Official Six-Man Football Team. Kidding. That’s just some Plains States football humor.
The Commission has eight primary charges, also found in the Court’s order. Among the charges: assessing the civil legal needs of low-income Oklahomans, developing a strategic plan toward meeting those needs, and increasing funding for civil ATJ needs.
Congrats to the Oklahoma Supreme Court and to the state’s other ATJ stakeholders. We note, perhaps immodestly, that an ABA ATJ Expansion Grant was one of the catalysts for the state to create a Commission. And we’ll look forward to continued support of efforts to narrow the justice gap in the Sooner State.