July 28, 2003
Philadelphia Bar Association Backs Improvements in Family Court; Supports Women's Law ProjectThe Philadelphia Bar Association's Board of Governors has unanimously approved a resolution aimed at improving the delivery of justice in the Domestic Relations Division of Family Court.
The resolution expresses support for increased public accountability about funding and resources allocation in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. It also supports increased funding, personnel and resources; the provision of assistance and information for pro se litigants; improved facilities, security, scheduling and timeliness; and the fulfillment of the constitutional mandate of open court.
Carol E. Tracy, executive director of the Women's Law Project, told the Board the resolution follows several years of work by many interested parties. Earlier this year the Women's Law Project published its findings and recommendations in a report titled Justice in the Domestic Relations Division of Family Court: A Report to the Community. The report is available on the group's web site.
"The administration we're working with in Family Court is the most responsive we've worked with," Tracy told the Board, adding that the Court is dealing with significant under-funding and inadequate facilities and security. "There are people working very hard in Family Court," Tracy told the Association's governing body. "They just don't have the resources they need." Tracy said it was important to receive the Association's support for the report's major recommendations.
The resolution supports:
- A continuing commitment to expanding pro bono resources for litigants. The court estimates that as many as 90 percent of custody, support and protection-from-abuse litigants lack legal representation.
- Renewed efforts by the Association and others to work with the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the First Judicial District, including participation in any task force or committee convened to develop strategies for improving the delivery of justice in the Domestic Relations Division.
- Cooperation by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the First Judicial District to bring about improvement in the delivery of justice in the Domestic Relations Division.