The Virtual Court Access Project increases access to free legal resources and services statewide
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Texas began implementing court proceedings in a virtual setting via video conferencing. This innovative use of technology expands access to justice and increases court appearance rates for many Texans. And yet, as virtual courts become a permanent fixture within our justice system, vulnerable Texans are left without resources to participate effectively.
DID YOU KNOW?
Nearly 45% of rural low-income Texans do not own a computer.
As part of the Virtual Court Access Project, TLSC is launching kiosks statewide to empower low-income and rural Texans to engage with the court. The kiosks act as virtual legal aid centers to connect residents to legal resources and necessary devices. Each kiosk provides a computer and other equipment to attend hearings and receive legal resources at no cost. Virtual court navigators assist by phone or chat to ensure kiosk users successfully navigate technical hurdles, such as turning on a microphone or scanning evidence to submit to the court.
The Virtual Court Access Project expands beyond kiosks. TLSC is also offering a comprehensive collection of virtual court educational materials and the opportunity to chat with a legal aid attorney at TexasLawHelp.org. These materials and services are available online free of charge.
One of the state’s first virtual court kiosks is available for Austin residents at the Little Walnut Creek Branch, Austin Public Library, located at 835 West Rundberg Lane. More kiosks are on the way. Our goal is to establish one in almost every county in Texas. We partner with other organizations to place kiosks in accessible locations, and, in many cases, where other critical services are available.
“The most exciting aspect of this project is the community partnership with the host sites,” said TLSC Executive Director Karen Miller. “Vulnerable Texans will benefit from accessing legal services right inside their community center, where they will find wrap-around services to help them solve the many problems that accompany legal issues.”
When you donate to Texas Legal Services Center, you directly support programs like the Virtual Court Access Project. Join us by making a gift today.