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Virginia Access to Justice Commission

About
On September 13, 2013, the Supreme Court of Virginia established the Virginia Access to Justice Commission.  The mission of the Commission, which is comprised of judges, lawyers, and others, is to promote equal access to justice in Virginia, with particular emphasis on the civil legal needs of Virginia residents.  The Commission is co-chaired by the Honorable S. Bernard Goodwyn, Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, and John Whitfield, Executive Director, Blue Ridge Legal Services, Inc. The formation of the Virginia Access to Justice Commission is consistent with Vision 3 of the current Strategic Plan for Virginia's Judicial System, adopted in 2009, which states that Virginia’s courts will "maintain human dignity and provide effective access to justice for all persons." 

The establishment of the Virginia Access to Justice Commission ensures that an entity is actively coordinating and promoting access to justice efforts in the Commonwealth.  The goals of the Commission include coordinating access to justice activities among various groups, mobilizing legal professionals to provide legal services to low income individuals, encouraging the development of auxiliary resources for underserved populations, and making the courts more accessible for all citizens.

Contact Information

  • Sandra L. Karison
    Office of the Executive Secretary
    804-786-6455

History
Utilizing an Access to Justice Commission Expansion Project Grant from the American Bar Association, the Supreme Court of Virginia convened an Access to Justice Planning Committee, chaired by Justice S. Bernard Goodwyn, in early 2013 to discuss access to justice needs in Virginia. The Committee was charged with determining whether an access to justice commission was needed in Virginia and, if so, what direction such a commission should take. The Committee recommended to the Court the creation of the Virginia Access to Justice Commission. In establishing the Commission, Virginia joined 28 other states with Access to Justice Commissions charged with expanding access to civil justice for low income and disadvantaged persons. 

Resources and Reference Materials