This week the Committee on Courts and Legal Services will hold a hearing on Intro 736, a bill introduced by Harlem City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and City Council Member Mark Levine to establish a new Office of Civil Justice. The office will be charged with assessing the need for civil legal services throughout New York City.
Modeled after the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Office of Civil Justice would coordinate with the Mayor and the City Council to develop a comprehensive strategy for expanding low cost or free legal services to low-income New Yorkers. The creation of the Office of Civil Justice was highlighted by Speaker Mark-Viverito as a high priority during her State of the City Address, and the proposal comes on the heels of significant funding increases for civil legal services across the City. Some noteworthy examples in just the last year include:
More than doubling the funding for the City Council Anti-Eviction initiative from $2.5M to $5.5M
More than doubling the funding for the Homelessness Prevention Law Project from $6.4M to $13.5M
A $36 million commitment from the Mayor to provide anti-harassment services to tenants over the next 3 years
This groundbreaking legislation is another example of the City’s commitment to civil justice issues and will serve as a key foundational piece toward increasing legal services for tenants in Housing Court, among other critical and life altering civil proceedings.
Committee hearing on Intro 736, a law to create an Office of Civil Justice focused on increasing civil legal services throughout New York City
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Members of the City Council Committee on Courts and Legal Services at Committee Room, City Hall, New York City.