Policies and Procedures
The Access to Justice Commission is asked from time to time to provide formal endorsement or support for entities and individuals who are working on projects to improve access to justice. Endorsement of such efforts is an appropriate undertaking for the ATJC. However, it is important to ensure that the proposals for which ATJC gives its endorsement are viable and consistent with the ATJC’s mission.
To that end, if a request for a formal endorsement or letter of support is made to the ATJC chair or to a member of the ATJC by someone not known to the ATJC, and the request relates to an activity to be carried out primarily in a judicial district served by a local ATJ committee, the request should be referred to the local committee for prompt investigation, followed by a recommendation to the Commission. If there is no local committee willing and able to make this prompt investigation and recommendation, the chair or commission member should ask the requesting party to (1) explain how its proposal is consistent with the ATJC’s mission; (2) identify lawyers, judges, or others in the community who know the requesting party and are familiar with the proposal; and (3) if appropriate, submit the business plan for the project.
Upon receipt of this information, the ATJC chair, or another ATJC commission member if asked to do so by the chair, may contact individuals identified by the requesting party and do any additional necessary due diligence before reporting back regarding the appropriateness of the proposal for ATJC.
The ATJC chair or other ATJC member who has received a request for endorsement may begin the process set forth above without involving the entire ATJC. However, before a letter of support or endorsement is sent out, or before a request for such endorsement is denied, the ATJC members shall be advised of the proposed action and given an opportunity to object or make suggestions. Such ATJC input may be sought and received by e-mail. If any member determines that the matter warrants more discussion, he or she may ask that it be put on the agenda at the next ATJC meeting.