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LAW Policy Practicum: Expanding Access to Justice in California Courts for Limited-English Court Users

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LAW 413W

Policy Practicum: Expanding Access to Justice in California Courts for Limited-English Court Users

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[ Academia ] [ Litigation ] [ Regulatory & Policy ] Public Interest Law: General

Why it is relevant for ...

[ Academia ] [ Litigation ] [ Regulatory & Policy ] as a Related Elective for those interested in Public Policy : A policy practicum is a great choice for skills-based training in the range of methods available to effect changes in the law. Some policy labs, like this one, offer students an opportunity to do research on the scope of a problem not adequately addressed in current law or regulation. Students develop proposals for new or revised regulation based on problems identified in their research. This course is a good choice for public interest lawyers. Students will identify the challenges facing Californians with limited English proficiency and make recommendations for potential reform options to increase their access to California courts, such as expanded access to video remote interpreting and other technologies.

General course Description:

This policy practicum will offer recommendations to the California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Associate Justice Maria Rivera (First District Court of Appeal), Hon. Manuel Cavarrubius (California Superior Court, County of Ventura) and members of the California Judicial Council to increase access to justice for limited English proficient (LEP) court users. The project interacts with the process of the Joint Working Group for California's Language Access Plan and assists development of a response to a U.S. Department of Justice notice that certain Court policies and procedures may be inconsistent with Title VI of the Civil Right Act of 1964 and its implementing regulations. Numerous state and local laws are also implicated by a potential lack of access for LEP court users. The California Commission on Access to Justice estimates that well over 7 million Californians, almost 20% of our state's population, "cannot access the courts without significant language assistance, cannot understand pleadings, forms or other legal documents and cannot participate meaningfully in court proceedings." Through fieldwork, literature review, legal research, and interviews with relevant participants and stakeholders students will identify challenges facing LEP litigants. Students will interview and consult with such parties as the Chief Justice, appellate court judges, state bar leaders and other attorneys, members of the Language Access Task Force of California, and individual stakeholders to develop recommendations for potential reform options, including whether the use of such technologies as video remote interpreting (VRI) can expand access to justice for LEP litigants. Students will be asked to produce written materials (findings and recommendations) as well as make oral presentations to California judges, Judicial Council staff, and others at meetings at each quarter. This policy practicum will be offered Fall 2014 and Winter 2015. We encourage students to participate both quarters if they are able to do so. Students should also note that field work will require some number of students to engage in overnight travel for court observation and local interviews in areas outside the Bay Area. Your availability to take the practicum both quarters and to travel for field research should be noted in your consent form. Students have the option to write papers for PW or R credit. If the paper involves independent research, then it will be eligible for R credit. The instructor and student must agree whether the student will receive an R or a PW. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from the PW writing section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. The practicum must be taken for at least two-units or more to receive R or PW credit. Elements used in grading: Class Participation, Attendance, Written Assignments. Oral presentations to judges, commissions and California Judicial Council representatives, quality of research. NOTE: Students may not count more than a combined total of eight units of directed research projects and policy lab practica toward graduation unless the additional counted units are approved in advance by the Petitions Committee. Such approval will be granted only for good cause shown. Even in the case of a successful petition for additional units, a student cannot receive a letter grade for more than eight units of independent research (Policy Lab practicum, Directed Research, Senior Thesis, and/or Research Track). Any units taken in excess of eight will be graded on a mandatory pass basis. For detailed information, see "Directed Research/Policy Labs" in the SLS Student Handbook. CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must complete and e-mail the Consent Application Form available on the SLS Registrar's Office website (see Registration and Selection of Classes for Stanford Law Students) to the instructors. See Consent Application Form for submission deadline.

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