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Issue Brief: Lessons from COVID-19 and Recommendations for New York Courts

THE COVID-19 crisis has upended many aspects of New Yorker’s lives—endangering their health, causing record unemployment rates, creating new fears of eviction and homelessness, and severing the fragile threads of the social safety nets on which so many New Yorkers experiencing poverty rely. Critical among these changes was the sudden limitations on New Yorker’s ability to access the civil justice system.

This Issue Brief explores the most significant hurdles posed by the virtual court and administrative proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic and recommends steps for improving such proceedings in the future. These lessons are particularly important as we contemplate a less-than-full return to a pre-pandemic justice system.

This Issue Brief is based on the experiences of NYLAG case handlers representing these clients, as well as consultations with our peer legal services providers and other stakeholders. We want to express our gratitude in particular to our peer organizations, whose advocacy and experiences contributed substantially to this Issue Brief. This document compiles and synthesizes the advocacy of both NYLAG and our many coalition partners, with the goal of amplifying the effect of those efforts for the benefit of New York communities experiencing poverty.

* Please note that the linked Issue Brief is a corrected version as of 8/9/2021.

 

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