Los Angeles Court Staff Reductions Could Impact Access to Justice SystemRepeated cuts to the budgets of California courts have resulted in staff reductions and furloughs and, consequently, delays in trials. Despite the detrimental impact of such measures—closed courtrooms and a shortage of judges and other legal staff—the state continues to carve away at its justice system, with 350 employees projected to be laid off in June and the restructuring of more that 50 courtrooms, reported the Los Angeles Times.
“Such cuts diminish the court system’s capacity to address the legal needs of tens of thousands of residents,” said California personal injury attorney James Ballidis.
The consequences of these budget cuts could have a severe impact on the ability of people to conduct legal matters. The United States legal system has long been touted as the great equalizer. Everyone, whether rich or poor, can come to court to take action against people and entities who hurt them, regardless of whether those people are individual drivers in auto accidents or major companies who produce dangerous and defective products. Criminals also receive a speedy trial and their day in court. People who have divorce and family law issues can have a judge hear those issues and make a fair choice.
Rendering the largest trial court system in the country threadbare will effectively limit the public’s access to justice. Delays in trials, whether due to a lack of courtrooms or permanent judges, may compromise time-sensitive evidence, specifically witness testimony. Postponing trials could also force accident victims in need of compensation for expenses related to the injury to settle for smaller sums, which could hinder their physical and financial recovery. Moreover, as of June, court-employed court reporters will cease to be provided for civil trials, a move that could shift more of the cost of litigation to the plaintiff.
In recent years, reductions in court staff and resources have ultimately restricted the public’s access to the justice system. The cuts expected this June are likely to continue this unfortunate trend.
Additional information on this and other legal issues, including books and articles to assist accident victims through the injury claims process, is available to the public free of charge.
If you would like to request one of these free resources, or to discuss a specific legal matter with a California personal injury attorney, feel free to call 866-981-5596.