"The court system has struggled during the past year. It has incurred significant budget cuts, employee layoffs and reductions in court operations. Despite the fiscal constraints, its doors must remain open to everyone seeking its services.
"The court system has submitted a bare-bones request, recognizing that, in hard economic times, the Judiciary, like the other two branches of government, is called upon to strike a balance between its needs and fiscal reality.
"While a case might be made for additional funding, we urge the Legislature to approve this request in its entirety so that the Judiciary can maintain its basic operations.
"We are pleased that the budget seeks $25 million for civil legal services and $15 million to rescue the Interest on Lawyer Account Fund, two programs that are vitally needed in the current economic climate.
"Every day, New York courts resolve criminal cases, business disputes, family matters and other pressing legal concerns. In doing so, they perform an essential function to a free and stable society. The New York State Bar Association has long advocated for adequate funding for the Judiciary.
"The State Bar is analyzing how existing reductions affect day-to-day court operations and New Yorkers' access to justice. We are surveying attorneys, court personnel and others to identify problems and ways the court system might enhance its operations despite depleted resources. The findings will be issued in a report, and discussed at length at our Presidential Summit during our Annual Meeting in January."
Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director of Media Services & Public Affairs