Spread the word: Florida Courts Help App expands access to civil justice
A new Florida Courts Help App video is more than just a digital tool for expanding access to civil justice.
Florida Bar Assistant Director of Programs Frank Digon-Greer sees it as an opportunity for the profession to think creatively — and help spread the word.
“So many of us live in a legal bubble,” Digon-Greer said. “We need to educate the general public, not just the pro se litigants, but also the organizations that serve them.”
Digon-Greer recommends passing the word to “non-traditional stakeholders,” not just legal aid societies, but also social service groups, such as the Florida Department of Children and Families, social workers, librarians, church groups, and other places of worship.
“Sure, let legal libraries know, but also regular libraries, where many people have to go to get access to the internet,” Digon-Greer said. “Churches, anywhere people go and discuss their problems.”
A four-minute, self-help video designed to assist pro se litigants with the non-legal aspects of representing themselves in court is posted on the court system’s Florida Courts Help website and on YouTube.
The tutorial was developed by the Supreme Court’s Commission on Access to Civil Justice, with an assist from the Young Lawyers Division and the Office of State Courts Administrator.
The video provides essential tips, including a reminder that court personnel cannot offer legal advice, to dress appropriately, and to arrive for court dates early so there is time to navigate courthouse security.
Digon-Greer also manages the Free Legal Answers program and is reminding attorneys who are offering pro-bono services online to recommend the video to their clients.
Pro se litigants can find the Florida Courts Help website here: https://help.flcourts.org/. In addition to providing information about the mobile app, the site also offers access to legal forms, veterans assistance, and other essential legal services, Digon-Greer said.
“It’s literally everything at your fingertips,” he said.