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"Funding Justice: The Summit for Florida's Courts" to be held Friday in Miami


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2009
CONTACT:
Susannah Lyle; slyle@flabar.org,
The Florida Bar
TELEPHONE:
(850) 561-5666


Florida Bar, business, judicial and legislative leaders will take part in a summit on state court funding to be held at the Hyatt Regency in Miami on Friday, Jan. 16, from 9 a.m. to noon in the Jasmine Ballroom.

The basic right of Floridians to seek justice is jeopardized when courts do not receive budgets sufficient to handle the jobs constitutionally entrusted to them. Two years of budget cuts have stripped nearly 10 percent of the courts' budget. In the special session, court budgets received another 1.25 cut.

Despite the latest cuts, there is some good news from the special session: All but $5 million of the 1.25 percent cut should be restored through newly created trust fund fees in a step that is critical to the court system’s future: the creation of a new State Courts Revenue Trust Fund.

The Florida Bar supports the courts' goal of securing immediately and permanently the dollars required for the courts to do their work. The summit -- "Funding Justice: The Summit for Florida's Courts" -- will examine the budget needs of the courts and what happens when they struggle with fewer workers and expanding dockets, which increase ever-more rapidly during economic hard times. The summit will include:

-- A presentation by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Peggy Quince on Principles for Stabilizing Court Funding.
-- A report by Dr. Tony Villamil of the Washington Economics Group about what happens to Florida’s economy when courts do not receive the resources to do their jobs.
-- Panel discussions with legal, business and legislative leaders about the effects of under-funding of the courts.

The summit is being held in conjunction with The Florida Bar's Midyear Meeting and is sponsored by The Florida Bar and the Young Lawyers Division. Materials for the summit are available on The Florida Bar Web page at www.floridabar.org/judicialindependence.
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EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."

[Revised: 01-14-2009]