Monday, October 26, 2009
California has a new program to fund public interest lawyers to provide free representation to all indigent civil litigants involved in certain types of cases, such as home foreclosures, domestic violence cases, cases alleging predatory lending practices and others. The pilot program, which lasts through 2017, will be paid for by a $10 increase in court fees.
The program is designed to address inequities that might result when litigants represent themselves in cases involving important family law and social justice issues. With this program, California appears to provide free representation in the broadest array of cases of any state so far. The program has been praised for making legal services available to indigent people facing serious legal problems, but it has been criticized as diverting funds from other important social justice programs, such as improved law enforcement and day care programs.
The Los Angeles Times provides more coverage about this program here