Florida ‘Justice Gap’ Panel To Begin Meeting

In what promises to be a big effort in a big state, the 27-member blue-ribbon panel selected to address Florida’s “justice gap” will begin its formal work Jan. 16. But it has already begun an educational outreach, including an op-ed in the Miami Herald co-authored by Florida Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and attorney Gregory W. Coleman is president of The Florida Bar.

They begin by noting that”…legal aid has only been able to address about 20 percent of the legal needs of low-income citizens and with recent funding cuts even fewer will be served. Many more Floridians — those who earn too much to qualify for legal aid and yet can’t afford an attorney — are caught in a legal services gap.

They say the new Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice is important not just because of its goals, but because it “.. includes members of the legal community, but more important, it also includes representatives of government and the business community, from Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Attorney General Pam Bondi to executives at Disney, Publix Super Markets and food distributor Cheney Brothers.”

Read the op-ed here: Improving Access to Justice in Florida