Through Committee, Bill to Create Office of Civil Justice Heads Toward Law

New York City Council's Committee on Courts and Legal Services unanimously passed a bill that would create the office, to be tasked with assessing, coordinating, and helping reform the civil legal services available to low-income New Yorkers.

News Story (New York)

Catie Edmondson
Gotham Gazette (NYC)
May 26, 2015
Full story

Tags: Civil Right to Counsel, Delivery Systems, Funding: State & Local, Legal Needs


The bill, Intro. 736, has Council Member Mark Levine and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito as its lead sponsors and is expected to sail through the full City Council Wednesday and be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio in the coming weeks. It is a significant step in work being done by both sides of City Hall to reform the city’s justice system – whether criminal or civil – with focus on equity and consistency.

The office will be headed by a civil justice coordinator appointed by the mayor, and will assess the efficacy and capacity of existing civil legal provider programs. The city currently allocates tens of millions of dollars to provide civil legal services for those who cannot afford counsel. The civil justice office would also develop a five-year plan to ensure low-income New Yorkers have the access to the civil legal services they need.