To the People of Michigan:
Each year, many people must navigate Michigan’s complicated civil legal system without the assistance of an attorney. Individuals are often dealing with issues that can significantly impact their lives such as debt collection, eviction, and child custody or support. The Justice for All Commission (JFAC) is dedicated to advancing reforms that will make the civil justice system easier to navigate while providing additional resources for those navigating the civil justice system without the assistance of legal counsel.
For many people, accessing the services of legal aid providers can make a meaningful difference in the outcome of their legal issue. In 2022, the Commission released a report examining the value and impact of legal aid organizations on individuals navigating the civil justice system, as well the people of Michigan as a whole. Looking at 2019-2020, for every $1 invested in Michigan’s civil legal aid services, the people of Michigan received a 669% return on that investment in immediate and long-term financial benefits. While legal aid services alone will not eliminate the civil justice gap, ongoing investment in additional legal aid resources is a prudent strategy which often provides a lifeline to those navigating the system.
In 2022, the Commission took a significant step forward in its efforts to make the civil justice system easier to navigate through the adoption of recommendations from the Process Simplification – Debt Collection Work Group. We are excited for the Commission to begin implementation efforts on these recommendations in early 2023. As these implementation efforts begin, we are also eagerly anticipating the presentation of additional recommendations from several of the Commission’s other committees and work groups that will continue to build upon these reform efforts.
The breadth and depth of the civil justice issues being addressed by the Commission is substantial. As we begin the third year of Commission activities, we want to express a deep appreciation for the significant commitment of more than 150 volunteer work group/committee members and Commissioners. Working together we will achieve our goal of 100 percent access to the civil justice system in Michigan.