Advocacy

The CBF works to engage the legal community in advocacy to advance access to justice and provide the legal community with a powerful collective voice in the legislative and policymaking process at all levels of government.

The CBF’s advocacy work focuses on three key areas at the federal, state, and local levels:

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Funding for legal aid, courts, and related access to justice efforts

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Simplification and modernization of the legal system

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Larger, systemic issues impacting access to justice where the solution depends on fixing the systemic problem rather than providing more legal assistance alone

Current Priorities

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Funding for legal aid, courts, and related access to justice efforts

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Simplification and modernization of the legal system

Past Successes

Here are just a few representative examples of the CBF’s advocacy efforts over the years.

Funding for legal aid, courts, and related access to justice efforts

Access to Justice Act (Public Act 098-0351 and Public Act 099-0281)

    • The Access to Justice Act, a multifaceted initiative that the CBF worked on with the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice and other partners, created the groundbreaking Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network.

Funding from Residual Funds in Class Action Cases (735 ILCS 5/2-807)

    • The CBF played the lead role in advocacy efforts that resulted in the development and passage of a new law that ensures that, to the extent practicable, residual funds in class action cases in the Illinois courts are distributed to organizations that improve access to justice. This statute has become a model for many other state laws and Supreme Court Rules around the country.
Simplification and modernization of the legal system

Court Record and Document Accessibility Act (HB 2624)

Simplifying Name Changes in Illinois (Public Act 102-1133)

    • The CBF worked with a coalition of other organizations to reduce the barriers to obtaining a legal name change in Illinois, including removing the outdated publication and third-party witness requirements, standardizing court forms, and expanding judicial discretion.

Retiring “Ad Damnum” and Other Unnecessary Latin & Legalese (Public Act 103-0403)

    • The CBF continued its efforts to simplify archaic and confusing statutory language with a technical amendment to replace “prayer for relief,” “ad damnum,” and other unnecessary Latin & legalese in the Code of Civil Procedure with plain language alternatives.

Simplifying Affidavits in Court Proceedings (Public Act 100-1086)

    • The CBA and the CBF spearheaded legislation to simplify court proceedings by allowing documents filed in court to be sworn to without the need for additional notarization, removing a barrier to access to justice for many low-income and self-represented Illinoisans.

Eviction Court Name Change Legislation (Public Act 100-0173)

    • The CBA and CBF partnered to simplify the law governing evictions in Illinois by changing the confusing and archaic title and language of the “Forcible Entry and Detainer Act.” By changing the name of the Act to the Eviction Act, and changing the similarly confusing name of the order used for evictions from “order of possession” to “eviction order,” the eviction process is now more user-friendly and understandable for tenants and landlords alike.
Larger, systemic issues impacting access to justice

Access to Justice Act (Public Act 098-0351 and Public Act 099-0281)

    • The Access to Justice Act, a multifaceted initiative that the CBF worked on with the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice and other partners, created a Statutory Court Fee Task Force that led to significant reforms of the various statutory fees and fines imposed or assessed on criminal defendants and civil litigants and created the groundbreaking Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network.

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (20 U.S.C. 1001 et seq)

    • The CBA and CBF partnered with a number of national and local organizations in a successful multi-year advocacy effort that led to the passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (CCRAA), which created the groundbreaking Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.