Family Law

Family Law News Issue 1, 2014, Volume 36, No. 1

Message from the Chair

Andrew Cain

51 courthouses and 205 courtrooms closed. 2,000 court staff laid-off. Three-hour drives for litigants to reach their nearest courthouse. These are just some of the consequences associated with cuts to the California Judiciary’s budget since the economic downturn five years ago. The impact of these reductions has been staggering, and the light at the end of the tunnel is only beginning to glimmer.

Many Section members reading this message have directly witnessed the pain of these cuts. Our clients have waited longer, sometimes months, for a trial date. Numerous litigants have seen access to mediators and evaluators limited. Parties have traveled further to have their cases heard. Take a poll of any three litigants at your local courthouse and odds are good at least one of them has experienced some significant pain as a result of the reduction in services. The ability to discharge our commitment to guaranteeing access to justice has taken a major hit.

The status of the Judiciary as an equal branch of government is beyond dispute. The principles of tripartite government date back to the founding of the United States. Sadly, an unintended consequence of the budget cuts is to risk relegating the Judiciary to secondary status behind the other two branches. As legal professionals operating within this system, we are responsible for helping to insure the Judiciary in California has the resources to remain in equity with the Legislature and Executive.

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