On September 12, 2007, Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman held an Access to
Justice Summit for the heads of NYC Tribunals at City Hall. The Summit brought
together the City’s chief administrative law judges to discuss their leadership
role in enhancing the public’s accessibility to, and understanding of the
tribunal hearing process.
The Summit addressed three areas: (1) User Friendly Tribunals; (2) Use of Technology and Related Tools in Improving How Technology Can Enhance Tribunal Efficiency and Effectiveness; and (3) Ensuring Appropriate Judicial Proceedings with Self Represented Parties. A Chief ALJ Roundtable Discussion concluded the Summit.
OATH Chief Administrative Law Judge Roberto Velez facilitated the User Friendly Tribunals segment. Professor William D. Lutz, Author & Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University, and Nancy Festinger, Chief Interpreter, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York addressed the use of plain language in documents, interpreters, accessibility for the disabled, and cultural competency. Professor Lutz advised the participants to know their audience and use straightforward language. Ms. Festinger discussed the language needs of the population the tribunals service and options for meeting those needs.
Azadeh Khalili of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and Anthony Tassi of the Mayor’s Office of Adult Education discussed literacy and language skills of NYC adults. They offered their offices as tribunal resources.
Diana Zalph, Director of Adjudication, Department of Consumer Affairs, facilitated the Use of Technology and Related Tools in Improving How Technology Can Enhance Tribunal Efficiency and Effectiveness segment. Rochelle Klempner, Principal Court Attorney to Justice Fern Fisher, NYS Unified Court System and Jeff Hogue, Supervising Attorney, Legal Assistance of Western New York discussed the use of websites, videos, and other technology to aid self-represented and limited English proficient parties, and demonstrated the A2J Author program.
David Goldin, Administrative Justice Coordinator, facilitated the Ensuring Appropriate Judicial Proceedings with Self Represented Parties segment. Professor Paula Galowitz, New York University School of Law, Judge Ernest Cavallo, New York County Civil Court, and Judge Ray Kramer, Supervising Administrative Law Judge, Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings discussed the judge’s/hearing officer’s role in informing self-represented litigants of the process and proof needed to proceed.
Judge Glenn Newman, President, NYC Tax Appeals Tribunal
& Tax Commission, facilitated the Chief ALJ Roundtable Discussion. Judge
Newman discussed tribunal goals and establishing best-practices action plans for
tribunals. The participants will evaluate the user-friendliness of their
tribunals and identify and eliminate barriers to justice.