Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald and First Circuit Chief Judge Derrick Chan officially opened the “Access to Justice Room” on Friday, August 10, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. at the District Court courthouse in Honolulu.
“The number of individuals representing themselves in civil proceedings because they cannot afford an attorney has been increasing. Many self-represented parties struggle with the judicial system because they don’t understand the process and what is expected of them,” said Chief Justice Recktenwald. “Our Access to Justice Room is intended to help them navigate the system more effectively, which in turn helps the system run more smoothly.”
The Access to Justice Room is located on the third floor of the courthouse at 1111 Alakea Street and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.
The Access to Justice Room is staffed by a volunteer attorney (from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) and an AmeriCorps representative (from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) who can help self-represented litigants with short-term legal advice on civil matters related to landlord tenant cases, collection cases, and temporary restraining order cases (which involve non-family members or parties who are not now, or have not been, in a dating relationship). Members of the public needing more assistance than what can be obtained from the District Court Service Center will be referred to the Access to Justice Room.
The program is a joint effort of the Hawaii State Judiciary, the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission, the Hawaii State Bar Association, and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii. Support from the AmeriCorps Program is also provided.
“The Judiciary appreciates the assistance of the members of the bar who are volunteering their time, as well as the support of all of our partners on this project,” Chief Justice Recktenwald said.
The Access to Justice Room opened with a chant from Keahe Davis of the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center.
The Access to Justice Room was made possible by a partnership with the Hawaii State Judiciary, Hawaii Access to Justice Commission, Hawaii State Bar Association, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii. Pictured are: (L to R) First Circuit Deputy Chief Court Administrator Calvin Ching; First Circuit Chief Judge Derrick Chan; Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald; Sergio Alcubilla, of AmeriCorps; Deputy Chief Judge Barbara Richardson; District Court Lead Civil Judge Hilary Gangnes; and Legal Aid Society of Hawaii Executive Director Nalani Fujimori Kaina.
Seated in the newly opened Access to Justice Room, AmeriCorps representative Sergio Alcubilla talks to his supervisor, Nalani Fujimori Kaina, the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.