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Access to Justice for All: The Public Library’s Role.

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Presentation on theme: "Access to Justice for All: The Public Library’s Role."— Presentation transcript:

1 Access to Justice for All: The Public Library’s Role

2  Katrina Zabinski  Susan Larson  Sara Galligan  With sponsorship by the Minnesota Assoc. of Law Libraries

3  Part One—Access to Justice and Minnesota Court Resources  Part Two—The Library’s Role and Statewide Collaborations; Legal Information Ethics  Part Three—More Help for Self Help

4  Katrina Zabinski—Minnesota Judicial Branch  Susan Larson—Minnesota State Law Library  Sara Galligan—Ramsey County Law Library

5  “Access to Justice” and the Minnesota Courts ◦ Mission of equal access, and Strategic Priority to offer baseline level of pro se services statewide ◦ MN Courts statewide “virtual” Self-Help Center ◦ MN Rule Gen. Prac, Rule110, Self-Help Programs  more than referrals – forms, instructions, 1/1 help  education on basic legal literacy  no legal advice ◦ Partnerships - Public Libraries in Dakota and Hennepin Counties

6 Pro Se Resources from the Minnesota Judicial Branch  Self-Help Center website (statewide)  Self-Help computer workstations ◦ all county courthouses (except Hubbard) ◦ some public libraries (Dakota, Hennepin)  1:1 help via call-center and email  new & updated content and tools with emphasis on “plain language” and ease of use  Public education & outreach  Pro se resources at specific Judicial Districts

7 Public Pro Se Workstation Sibley County Courthouse

8 Scope of Self-Help Services  State law matters in MN District & Conciliation Courts.  People with cases in ANY Minnesota county (no limit based on income).  People who can read and follow instructions, but have questions about court forms and procedures.  Limitations for those with low-literacy skills (except some videos and LEP materials).  Complex or contested case? Legal advice? Refer to Find a Lawyer page on SHC website.

9 a closer look…

10 MN Courts Judicial Districts Self-Help Center Court Forms TIP:Short & easy URLs to give over the phone, or include on brochures, handouts, etc.

11  Statewide Collaborations—Law Libraries and Self-Help Programs ◦ The Fifth Judicial District ◦ The Minnesota Law Library Network ◦ Minnesota State Law Library Support for Public Librarians ◦ Legal Information v. Legal Advice

12  More Help for Self Help ◦ Legal Forms ◦ Referrals ◦ Public Library Role--Conclusion

13 Authority/Source Government/Legal Aid Org. Commercial Questionable Website

14 From Carol Elefant, Esq. ( For example, I decided to take a look at adoption forms for California. While the Findlaw site allows for a free on-screen preview of the forms, you need to pay $12.95 to download a usable version. However, you can access those same adoption forms for free directly from the California court site adoption forms

15 Forms Legal Package 100% Satisfaction Guarantee LegalZoom offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Learn more about our guarantee.Learn more about our guarantee Discounted Price: You save $1,781!* Standard$299 Get more pricing details

16 From Gale forms on Annulment (Questionnaire): Intoxication/Substance abuse at wedding ceremony Insanity of the time of marriage Consanguinity - Related By Blood Lack of Consent of Parent - Under 18 at time of marriage Bigamy - Married to another person at time of marriage Fraud – Explain nature of fraud and date discovered: Breach of Prenuptial Promise to Become US Citizen – Motive for citzenship: Green card revoked/deportation Refused to have sexual relations Refused to live together Refused to have children Impotency - unable to engage in sexual relations Sterility/infertility Concealed pregnancy by another man Claimed pregnant when in fact was not pregnant Wife pregnant with another man’s child at time of marriage Homosexuality Physical abuse Criminal history Duress, threats, intimidations Undisclosed Health or Disease

17 518.02 VOIDABLE MARRIAGES. A marriage shall be declared a nullity under the following circumstances: (a) A party lacked capacity to consent to the marriage at the time the marriage was solemnized, either because of mental incapacity or infirmity and the other party at the time the marriage was solemnized did not know of the incapacity; or because of the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other incapacitating substances; or because consent of either was obtained by force or fraud and there was no subsequent voluntary cohabitation of the parties; (b) A party lacks the physical capacity to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse and the other party at the time the marriage was solemnized did not know of the incapacity; (c) A party was under the age for marriage established by section 517.02. 517.02

18  MN State Court Website MN State Court Website ◦ Other forms Other forms  LawMoose LawMoose  MN State Law Library MN State Law Library  Credible Commercial State Forms (Miller Davis) Credible Commercial State Forms (Miller Davis)


20 Support multiple languages in both answering questions and printing completed forms, as possible.

21 Steer Librarians AND Patrons in the Right Direction  Attorney Representation ◦ Low Income Resources ◦ Bar Referral ◦ MN State Court Referral Info  Brief Advice Clinics  Other

22  MN Public Defenders (  MN Legal Services Coalition—Civil Legal services Directory ( m? m?pagename=Quick%20Reference%Guide  State Bar Association Bar Referral (  MN State Courts Referral Site (

23 Court Houses Legal Aid Agencies Pro Bono Organizations Law Schools Law Libraries

24  MN State Court Website—Legal Advice Clinics (  Legal Help Locator (

25  MN Court Statewide Call Center—Phone, Website and Email: ◦ Call Center--651-259-3888 (Monday--Friday, 8:30 AM to 3 PM)  Chat Feature (

26 Minnesota State Law Library (MSLL) Minnesota County Law Libraries MN County Law Library Directory: Metro County Law Libraries—website directory

27  Minnesota Judicial Branch Self Help Center: Access to Trial Court Records:  Minnesota State Law Library--Law for Laypeople:  Minnesota Attorney General Publications – Free & easy to order online; also available online in PDF format  a collaboration of several agencies, this resource offers information on many legal topics, materials in foreign languages and Legal Fact Sheets:

28  Conclusion ◦ Awareness of Self Help Legal Resources ◦ First Point of Contact/Referrals (Triage) ◦ Promotion and Access ◦ Optimum hours, locations, and resources ◦ Special programs (ESL) ◦ Other?

29 Minnesota Association of Law Libraries (MALL) (a core list of print resources):

30  MN Judicial Branch Website Includes virtual court Self-Help Center  MALL Website Includes core resources for public libraries  MN State Law Library Website Legal Research Resources County law library directory MN Legal Periodical Index

31  for Self Represented Litigants: ces_for_SelfRepresented_Litigants  American Bar Association Public Legal Information Site:  Legal Services Corporation/Open Society/ProBonoNet: National legal help (includes 50 state listing):

32  Sara Galligan, Ramsey County Law Library ◦ 651-266-8391 ◦  Susan Larson, Minnesota Sate Law Library ◦ 651-297-7651 ◦  Katrina Zabinski, Minnesota Judicial Branch ◦ 612-596-9134 ◦

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