The Indiana Supreme Court recently appointed Notre Dame Law School Clinical Professor Judith Fox to the Coalition for Court Access. According to Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush, the 17-member coalition will develop and implement a statewide plan to improve the availability and quality of access to civil legal services for low-income Indiana residents.
“Ordinary Americans feel that the ‘system’ is rigged against them, whether that be the economic system or the judicial system,” Fox said. “I hope to use my time on this committee to help increase access to the courts, but also to design systems that make the process, once accessed, fair to all those who become part of the judicial system.”
In 2015 the court asked a 10-member team to examine the structure of three existing supreme court related organizations that address civil legal assistance to low-income Hoosiers. The team, which considered the work of the Indiana Pro Bono Commission, the Indiana Commission to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services, and the Indiana Supreme Court Committee on Unrepresented Litigants, ultimately made the recommendation to eliminate the three entities and establish the CCA.
“I was delighted to learn of Professor Fox’s appointment,” said Dean Nell Jessup Newton. “Her experience wrestling with economic issues on behalf of underserved communities gives her a unique perspective that will benefit the coalition immensely.”
The CCA includes judges, law school representatives, and Indiana State Bar Association and Foundation members.
“My entire career has been about access to justice for the poor,” Fox said. “Frankly, the problem is now much bigger. Most Americans simply do not have the economic ability to access our court system. Our judicial system has lost the trust and respect of the citizens and that trust is essential for a functioning democracy.”