Posts Tagged ‘access to justice’

For those of you who have struggled through the court system in California during a divorce or custody matter, now is your chance to let the Court know how you feel about the recommendations that the Elkins Task Force has put out in a 78 page draft.  You can review the Elkins draft by clicking here, Elkins.

If you are not familiar with what Elkins is, in 2005 Mr. Elkins represented himself in Contra Costa Superior Court in a Family Law matter.  Prior to the trial, he attempted to introduce 36 exhibits to establish his case.  The Court allowed only 2 of these exhibits and frustrated that he could not present his case to the court, Mr. Elkins rested his case.   Of course, Mr. Elkins did not get what he was asking the Court to do in the separation o f assets in his dissolution.  Mr. Elkins filed a writ and in 2007 the Supreme Court found that the Contra Costa local rule conflicted with the existing statutory law and held that marital dissolution trials should “proceed under the same general rules of procedure that govern other civil trials.”

The Supreme Court recognized that the courts were underresourced and that the number of self-represented litigants were creating unique challenges to the Court’s ability to provide access to justice.  The Court recommended that the Judicial Council of California establish a task force to study and propose measures trial courts could use to establish fairness and efficiency in marital dissolution proceedings.  This is how the Elkins Task Force was appointed.