homepage logo

Legal resources at library help increase access to justice

By Staff | Jan 12, 2017

Pictured (from right) are Joseph Cardoza, chief judge of the Second Judicial Circuit; Madeleine Buchanon, Lahaina Public Library branch manager; Jenny Silbiger, state law librarian; and Lance Collins, attorney for the North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund, celebrating a grassroots effort that will benefit the West Maui community.

LAHAINA – The Hawaii State Judiciary continues to partner with the Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS) to expand legal resources and increase access to justice. Recently, a collection of American Law Reports (ALR) and ALR Digest from the Third Circuit Court in Kona were donated to Lahaina Public Library, with financial and technical assistance from the North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund.

This collection of law books will supplement Lahaina Public Library’s current legal holdings, which include the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Maui County Code, recent editions of the Hawaii Sessions Laws, and the Proceedings of the Charter Commissions of Maui, to allow residents to learn more about the law and conduct further legal research.

“I’m so happy that the Hawaii State Public Library System continues to foster a partnership with the Judiciary to make legal resources available to the public,” said Jenny Silbiger, state law librarian at the Supreme Court Law Library.

“When we needed to make space for the Kona Self-Help Center in our Kona law library, we were excited to hear that Lahaina was interested in the collection. We appreciate the support from North Beach West Maui Fund for kindly shipping the resources between islands. It is a win-win for everyone.”

In 2015, the Judiciary, HSPLS, and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii (Legal Aid) partnered together to make self-help interactive court forms available online.

Twenty-three of the most frequently used civil legal forms are now available online, accompanied by state-of-the-art software developed by Legal Aid.

This software takes users through a step-by-step question and answer process to help complete the forms easily and correctly.

For those who do not own a personal computer or have Internet access, the Hawaii State Public Library System provides access to these “A2J” (Access to Justice) self-help forms at locations statewide. For more information, visit the “Access to Justice” tab on the Hawaii State Judiciary’s website or LawHelp.org/hi.

Chief Judge of the Second Circuit Joseph Cardoza said, “One of the greatest challenges to equal justice today is the lack of effective access to our civil justice system. People who have low or even moderate incomes cannot afford to hire an attorney to represent them in their civil legal cases. As a result, every year in Hawaii, thousands of people must represent themselves in our civil courts and try to navigate a system that is foreign to the average layperson. For this reason, the Judiciary has continued to pursue projects and programs that make Hawaii’s courts more accessible. We are so grateful to the Hawaii State Public Library System for collaborating with us on this mission and helping us improve our reach.”

For more information on the Hawaii State Law Library System, visit hilawlibrary.wordpress.com/.