State Bar Association President Sharon Stern Gerstman today urged for the
continuation of adequate funding of the state court system to ensure access to
justice for all New Yorkers.
continue to emphasize that the Judiciary is the co-equal third branch of
government. While we do not expect that funding for the courts will be equal to
that of the other branches, court funding must be adequate, in order to
efficiently and fairly provide access to justice throughout New York State,” Gerstman
said in written
testimony, presented during a public hearing in New York City, on the current
state of the Judiciary.
praised the Legislature for extending its constitutional obligation for indigent
public criminal defense services granted under the Hurrell-Harring settlement statewide without increasing the
biennial attorney registration fee in 2017–2018. Raising the fee to help fund
the cost had been proposed in the Executive Budget, but was later removed.
attorney registration fee increases in the upcoming 2018–2019 budget
would be an “unreasonable burden” on small law firms, solo practitioners,
government attorneys, lawyers working for legal services providers and
nonprofit entities and newly admitted attorneys in a difficult job market, she said.
Hurrell-Harring is a state obligation
and a societal responsibility that should be paid for by the General Fund, not
by a surcharge on lawyers,” Gerstman said.
Gerstman also commended Chief Judge
Janet DiFiore for re-convening the Judicial Task Force on the New York State
Constitution to recommend constitutional reforms to make the court system more
efficient and accessible.
“For more than 35 years, the New York
State Bar Association has consistently supported efforts to reorganize the
court system and reduce or eliminate the complex system’s unnecessary costs,
undue inefficiencies and confusion,” Gerstman said.
Link to testimony: http://www.nysba.org/SSGTestimonyDecember2017
About the New York State Bar Association
Since 1876, the New York State Bar Association has helped shape the development
of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed
the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.
Contact: Christina Couto
Editor, State Bar News