For members of the public who do not have legal representation, finding the appropriate court forms and knowing how to fill them out can be a daunting task. That is why the Judiciary is partnering with the Hawaii State Bar Association and Legal Aid Society of Hawai’i in installing new Access to Justice workstations. These computer workstations are equipped with an interactive software program that will help self-represented litigants facing civil legal issues to identify and complete the correct forms.
“At Honolulu District Court, there are more than 50 court forms for civil cases alone,” says Rodney Maile, Administrative Director of Courts. “The Chief Justice has made it a top priority to provide Access to Justice for people of all income levels, and to make it easier for the public to navigate through the court process. Thanks to the Hawaii Bar Association and Legal Aid, we are able to provide another tool to supplement our Self-Help Centers and Access to Justice Rooms,” adds Maile.
The new Access to Justice workstations are located in, or near, the Self-Help and Access to Justice Rooms at the following locations:
• Family Court of the First Judicial Circuit in Kapolei
• District Court of the First Circuit in Honolulu
• Circuit Court of the Second Circuit in Wailuku
• Circuit Court of the Third Circuit in Hilo
• Circuit Court of the Fifth Circuit in Lihue
“The new A2J software is similar to computerized tax preparation programs which assist users in filling out forms correctly,” explains Legal Aid’s Executive Director Nalani Fujimori Kaina. “Self-Help Center volunteer attorneys will utilize the software and workstations to better assist self-represented litigants. AmeriCorps members provide support to the self-help centers state-wide and will serve as the point of contact if questions arise about the workstations.” adds Kaina.
“We want to thank all of the attorneys who volunteered their time, skills, and experience at the Self-Help Centers and Access to Justice Rooms,” says Craig P. Wagnild, President of the Hawaii State Bar Association. “They have assisted more than 3000 people since the inception of these Centers by providing legal information and advice to help self-represented litigants understand the law, the legal system and what to expect in their cases. We expect that these new workstations will help the Centers assist more people and our attorneys better serve the public,” says Wagnild.
The Legal Aid Society of Hawai’i received a Legal Services Corporation Technology Initiative Grant, which funded the development of the new A2J document assembly software and provided the workstation laptops and printers.