Advancing Access to Justice in Springfield

Hot on the heels of a successful advocacy trip to Washington D.C., a dedicated team of volunteers and staff from the CBF and The Chicago Bar Association (CBA) traveled to our state capitol to advocate for several important access to justice initiatives. The advocacy team met with legislators and members of the Governor’s staff to highlight the current CBF state advocacy priorities, including funding for key legal aid and court programs and two initiatives to improve fairness and efficiency in the courts.

Priorities for this year include HB5023, which provides important clarity around access to restricted court records and improves the administration of the court process. HB5023 builds off of last year’s successful passage of the Court Record and Document Accessibility Act. The bill passed the House by wide margins and was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, with further action in the Senate deferred until later this fall.

Additionally, the CBA and CBF began work on legislation to implement the latest recommendations from the Illinois Supreme Court Statutory Court Fee Task Force.   These recommendations build on the comprehensive overhaul of the court fees and fines system in Illinois after the initial report from the Supreme Court Task Force, helping to ensure the court system is fair and accessible to all regardless of income and further reducing barriers for Illinoisans who cannot afford to pay standard fees and fines.

The CBA and CBF team also continued to advocate for funding for court programs that improve access to justice for people facing eviction and for the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation.

For more information, or if you are interested in getting more involved in the CBF’s advocacy efforts, contact Roya Samarghandi, CBF Associate Director of Advocacy, Innovation & Training, at rsamarghandi@chicagobarfoundation.org.