The Delaware State Courts will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024 for Memorial Day. Justice of the Peace Court 11 (New Castle County) and Court 7 (Kent County) will remain open 24 hours and Justice of the Peace Court 3 (Sussex County) will be open from 6AM-Midnight (no new cases after 11PM).

Access to Justice Commission


Supreme Court Justice Valihura and Family Court Chief Judge Newell promote pro bono representation at American Bar Association Event


Justice Karen L. Valihura of the Delaware Supreme Court and Chief Judge Michael K. Newell of the Delaware Family Court promoted the virtues of representing indigent litigants to a meeting of the American Bar Association (ABA) held on Feb. 27, 2019 in Wilmington at the law offices of Young Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor. Read more...

Supreme Court Justice Valihura and Family Court Chief Judge Newell promote pro bono representation at American Bar Association Event

Access to Justice Pro Bono Challenge


The Pro Bono Challenge will begin on January 1, 2019 and run through December 31, 2019.

Participants are asked to commit to dedicating at least 1% of their professional hours for the 2019 calendar year to pro bono service to indigent individuals and families.

The Delaware Access to Justice Commission Announces The Pro Bono Challenge.


Access to Justice Civil Subcommittees Final Report


The Delaware Supreme Court created the Access to Justice Commission in 2014 “to identify the critical needs related to access to justice in Delaware and to develop realistic and cost effective solutions to meet those needs.” In order to accomplish that directive, three subcommittees focusing on civil justice were created:

  • The Subcommittee on the Efficient Delivery and Adequate Funding of Legal Services to the Poor (the Funding Subcommittee);
  • The Subcommittee on Judicial Branch Coordination in Helping Pro Se Litigants (the Pro Se Subcommittee); and
  • The Subcommittee on Promoting Greater Private Sector Representation of Underserved Litigants (the Pro Bono Subcommittee).
On Sept. 18, 2017 the three civil Subcommittees completed their work and below is their Final Report to the Delaware Supreme Court.

Access to Justice Civil Subcommittees Final Report

View/print report in sections:


Disparity Study


Following through on recommendations issued by criminal justice experts from Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Institute and the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice during a series of public hearings on criminal justice reform in the fall of 2015, the Delaware Access to Justice Commission’s Committee on Fairness in the Criminal Justice System on Sept. 23, 2016 released an independent study that looks into the issue of racial disparities in the Delaware criminal justice system

Press release: Study on the role of race in the Delaware criminal justice system

Report: Evaluating the Role of Race in Criminal Justice Adjudications in Delaware


Background


The Delaware Access to Justice Commission held its kickoff meeting on December 15, 2014 at the Arsht Hall University of Delaware, Wilmington, Delaware. The Commission has been established by the Delaware Supreme Court to undertake the task of examining the justice system to identify any barriers to access to justice that may exist, and to develop recommendations designed to improve access to justice for the citizens of Delaware. To increase its accountability, the voting membership of the Commission are comprised entirely of private citizens — outstanding community and business leaders, lawyers and other professionals from across the state, who have the flexibility to make whatever policy recommendations they believe will be best for Delaware.

The Commission, working through committees, will initially focus on four important access to justice needs in Delaware — the efficient delivery and adequate funding of legal services to the poor; Judicial Branch coordination in helping self-represented litigants; the need to increase the pool of legal advisors to help litigants of limited means by exploring roadblocks confronting those lawyers; and fairness in the adult criminal justice system. The Commission has been tasked with completing its initial work in two years, with various committees conducting research, holding public hearings and making recommendations throughout that time period. The Amended Order establishing the Access to Justice Commission and the Commission and subcommittee membership list can be found below.

Press Release: Delaware Access to Justice Commission Gets Underway

Amended Order establishing the Access to Justice Commission

Access to Justice Commission Members


Committee Membership Lists:
Efficient Delivery and Adequate Funding of Legal Services to the Poor
Judicial Branch Coordination in Helping Pro Se Litigants
Promoting Greater Private Sector Representation of Underserved Litigants
Fairness in the Criminal Justice System


Access to Justice Public Hearings


The Access to Justice Commission's Committee on Fairness in the Criminal Justice System conducted a series of public hearings between October 22, 2015 and December 9, 2015. The Committee, comprised of prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, community leaders and academics, examined the causes of racial disparity in the criminal justice system and proposed ways to reduce those disparities.

Experts from the University of Pennsylvania Law School's Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice, Bryan Stevenson's Equal Justice Initiative, and the University of Delaware presented research on initiatives to reduce crime and increase racial equity.


Access to Justice Committee Reports 2015