The West Virginia Access to Justice Commission released a list of recommendations detailing what it thinks needs to happen to make the state's court system more accessible.
Earlier this summer, the commission gave the state Supreme Court a report about problems residents encounter when accessing the court system. The commission's recommendations that it delivered in its most recent meeting are based on that report.
The commission, which was established by a January 2009 administrative order, said there are many accessibility problems facing West Virginians but it all goes back to the ability to afford representation.
"Often, people can't afford attorneys and don't seek representation, believing they can't afford counsel or don't know where to go to find help," the commission's report states. "They give up before they get started. Others enter the system but are forced to represent themselves, all too often inadequately."
So, what needs to happen to improve accessibility?
First, the commission recommends encouraging support of "adequate public and private funding" for Legal Aid of West Virginia and other similar programs serving low-income clients.
For people acting as their own attorneys, the commission says there needs to be an online self-help center and a hotline to support it.