Hawaii Access to Justice Structure Hawaii does not have a formal Access to Justice structure. Legal services providers, the courts, and the Hawaii State Bar Association work together effectively on an informal basis. Key Initiatives Funding In 2001, providers, with support from the Hawaii State Bar Association and the state court system, succeeded in persuading the legislature to eliminate a sunset provision that would have ended funding for legal services from court filing fees. Pro Bono The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii is recruiting inactive lawyers to practice through the Pro Bono Publicus Project, under which bar fees, dues and charges can be waived for persons acting exclusively as pro bono attorneys for qualified legal services providers. The project is made possible by a rule change approved by the Hawaii Supreme Court effective July 2002, originally proposed by the Hawaii State Bar Association Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services to the Public. The Legal Aid Society has also begun a new pro bono effort directed at recruiting lawyers to provide full representation for domestic matters and to act as guardians ad litem for children in abuse and neglect proceedings. Access to Courts The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii has worked closely with the state court system on initiatives to support pro se litigants and provide information and advice in other areas. These include a self-help center, through which clients can obtain packets of self-help material on 120 common legal problems; clinics on adoption, guardianship, bankruptcy, family law, and other areas; courthouse assistance projects in housing and family law; simplification of court forms; and a multilingual Web site through which users can download court forms and access legal information. Program/Delivery The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii is partnering with a variety of state agencies to serve low-income people in the state: it is the largest provider of guardian ad litem services for the state judiciary; it has secured new funding to provide holistic services to persons who have domestic violence exemptions from TANF; and it is using Title 4B funding to assist minors at risk and their families with legal services to reduce the likelihood of abuse. The Society is about to sign a contract with the state to represent children in foster care with applications and appeals for SSI. It has also received five grants from HUD, including a Fair Housing Outreach and Education grant, a Fair Housing Tester grant, a Predatory Lending grant, a Section 8 Homeownership grant, and a Housing Counseling grant. The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii has partnered with community organizations and social service organizations to improve access to justice for remote clients through the use of videoconferencing and the Internet. The technology also facilitates better communication and cross-training between the partner organizations.
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