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Chief Justice Recktenwald helps commemorate Constitution Day at UH West Oahu – September 19, 2017Posted on Sep 21, 2017 in Featured News
Hawaii State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald commemorated Constitution Day 2017 at the University of Hawaii – West Oahu’s Equal Justice in Our Constitution event on September 19. Students, faculty, staff and the community were invited to participate in the event, which was sponsored by UH West Oahu’s new Law Society Club in honor of Constitution Day. Constitution Day is the annual federal commemoration of the signing of the United States Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787.
Chief Justice Recketnwald noted that while in 2017 we recognize the genius of those who drafted and signed the U.S. Constitution 230 years ago, we must recognize the gap between our nation’s promise of equal justice for all, and the reality that exists on the ground.
“One of the most significant challenges to equal justice today is the lack of effective access to our civil justice system,” said Chief Justice Recktenwald. “The reason is simple – people who have low or even moderate incomes cannot afford to hire an attorney to represent them in their civil legal cases. Although there is a right to counsel in criminal cases, there is, with only a few exceptions, no such right in civil cases. A key milestone in our efforts to address these challenges has been the establishment of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission. The Commission was created in 2008, with the goal of providing sustained focus to our efforts to increase access to justice. The Commission has achieved amazing results with extremely limited resources.”
Chief Justice Recktenwald went on to give updates on the progress Hawaii has made towards achieving 100 percent access to justice in our communities through a continuum of meaningful and appropriate services, including the use of courthouse self-help centers, technology, and language access services.