New funding for access to justice

Cup Plant

Image: beautifulcataya at Flickr

This summer, thanks to a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court order, the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation and the Access to Justice Commission will each have a new source of revenue to support their access to justice missions as of July 1, 2014. The funds will be generated by an increased fee that out of state lawyers must pay in order to practice on a temporary basis in a Wisconsin court. The fee for what is called pro hac vice admission was raised from $50 to $250 per application with $100 of the total going to WisTAF and $50 to the Commission. We expect the increased fee to generate approximately $80,000 annually for WisTAF and $40,000 for the Commission.

Petition 13-11, which requested an increase in the pro hac vice fee, was originally filed by the Office of Lawyer Regulation. Supportive comments were filed by WisTAF and the Commission, with both organizations requesting that a portion of any increase be used to fund access to justice efforts in Wisconsin.

Financial support for access to justice in Wisconsin has experienced a precipitous decline since the Legislature’s 2011 decision to remove all funding in the budget for civil legal aid. The availability of additional resources for WisTAF and the Commission will allow both organizations to continue their important mission of expanding equal access to justice for all.

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