Civil Justice Program to Help Ohioans in Need

The Ohio Supreme Court is accepting applications for a program aimed at improving access to justice for low-income, under-served, and disadvantaged Ohioans.

The Civil Justice Program Fund seeks to provide direct civil legal assistance and increased access to assistance for Ohioans’ civil legal needs, such as housing, health care, and economic security, among other areas.

The fund was created through Supreme Court rule changes that increased pro hac vice registration fees  ̶  which out-of-state attorneys pay if they want to appear in an Ohio court proceeding  ̶  from $150 to $300 and a $50 voluntary “add on” fee to the biennial attorney registration for Ohio attorneys. The rule changes were recommended by a 2015 Court task force charged with identifying obstacles to accessing the civil justice system in Ohio.

Award amounts top out at $100,000 for a “strong statewide impact” submitted by nonprofit organizations or public entities or agencies whose purpose is to provide access to civil legal services.

Other grant amounts operate on a sliding scale depending on the impact proposed: $75,000 for regional impact applicants (five or more counties), $50,000 for applicants with an impact on two or more counties, and $25,000 for applicants with countywide or citywide impact.

Applications must be submitted by Feb. 10 with awards expected to be announced in June. The program will be evaluated each cycle to determine award amount ceilings and funding priorities.

Applicants must be a non-profit organization or a public entity or agency whose purpose is to provide direct services or access to direct civil legal services.

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