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Supreme Court-created workgroup looks for ways to speed the resolution of civil court cases

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Chief Justice Charles CanadyA special workgroup that includes two former Bar presidents as members is looking for ways to speed the resolution of civil court cases, according to Chief Justice Charles Canady.

Canady told the Supreme Court Historical Society annual dinner on January 30 that the Supreme Court’s Judicial Management Council created the workgroup at the court’s direction.

Speaking the next day at The Florida Bar Board of Governors meeting in Tallahassee, Canady also praised a special Bar committee ordered by the court to study regulation of the legal profession, including how it affects access to the legal system.

The JMC workgroup membership includes former Supreme Court Justice Ken Bell and former Bar Presidents Scott Hawkins and Gene Pettis, Canady said.

“The workgroup we authorized. . . is a workgroup on the improved resolution of civil cases,” he said. “In brief, this is a workgroup we have asked to look at developing recommendations that would be designed to enhance the civil case process in order to deliver justice in a more timely, cost effective, and accountable end, all the while mindful. . . of due process.

“The court is focused on, can we get justice for people more expeditiously and appropriately.”

The workgroup will issue an interim report in August and its final report is due June 30, 2021, Canady said.

The Florida Bar Special Committee to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services has a slightly different aim, he said.

“In consultation with Bar leadership, we have asked The Florida Bar to form a study group to look at a wide range of issues related to the regulation of the legal profession in Florida,” Canady said.

“Our desire is to try to figure out if there are ways we can do a better job of getting lawyers to represent the people who need lawyers. We don’t want to have barriers that are unnecessary between clients needing a lawyer and lawyers wanting to serve them,” he said. “It’s about better serving the people of Florida and it’s also about strengthening The Florida Bar and strengthening the legal profession in Florida.”

The special committee’s report is due to the court on July 1, 2021.

Canady also praised the work done by the board and Bar leaders, saying that is essential to helping the legal system meet the needs of Floridians.

“The work you do is work that is necessary to help us carry out our constitutional responsibility. These are hard jobs that you have and it takes a lot of effort,” the chief justice said. “I never cease to be impressed by the lawyers in Florida who are involved in the leadership of the Bar. .. who make such a great contribution to the profession for this state and by doing that serve the people of the state because we are here to serve the people.”