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Access to justice is a right guaranteed under the Oregon Constitution. Access to justice requires more than simple access to legal information or to the courts.
In our legal tradition, access to justice must include access to sources of law. "Access to justice" is meaningless without equal access to current and reliable legal information and expert legal research assistance.
WHO WE SERVE: Oregon public law librarians, and this website, serve many people: pro se (self-represented) litigants, attorneys, judges, law firm and self-employed law librarians, investigators, elected officials, state, local and federal government employees, legal researchers and writers, teachers, reporters, students from K-12, home-schooled students, college and university students, law students, and paralegal students.
Access to justice and to the courts must include access to the primary and secondary sources of law, that is to say, access to the executive orders, statutes, regulations, and judicial precedents, along with the array of digest, citators, indexes, loose-leaf services, treatises and supplements necessary to locate and make use of these primary sources.
Oregon public law librarians work with local and state libraries, nonprofits, legal service organizations, lawyers, the courts, and others to facilitate access to the justice system for all and to enhance our ability to: assist legal researchers with relevant and appropriate training, resources, and referral services; continually improve the quality of our services; cultivate new technologies for serving legal researchers; save lawyers and clients and self-represented litigants time and money; and support law librarians and lawyers in individual and collaborative efforts to improve our legal collections and services to all Oregonians.
“The folks who cannot pay for a private attorney and cannot get a legal aid attorney are already disadvantaged in being forced to be self represented. With the law library, they have a slim chance at self representation, but it is at least a chance. Without a public law library, they have no hope of achieving any sort of justice at all…. What is the point of operating court facilities if the system doesn't work for everyone?" - Former Umatilla County Law Librarian
"If you read only what is written in the statutes, the cases, and the constitutions you will be absolutely wrong about what the law is." - Anonymous lawyer-law librarian
“There is significant unmet need for outreach, community education and access to easily used, high quality self-help materials…. Lower income people obtain legal assistance for their problems less than 20% of the time.” - From, The State of Access to Justice in Oregon, by D. Michael Dale, published in 2000, sponsored by the Oregon State Bar, the Oregon Judicial Department, and former Governor John Kitzhaber.
“If researchers conclude that the only valuable records are those that are online - they will be missing major parts of the story of history. And in some cases they will miss the story altogether." - James J. Hastings, Director of Access Programs, National Archives.
"A public law library without current materials and access to premium resources and professional staff is useless and potentially dangerous." - Jennifer Dalglish, Clackamas County Law Librarian
Top Ten Q & A
- When can I leave my kids home alone?
- Where can I get a copy of my divorce records?
- Where can I get a free Power of Attorney form?
- What can I do about my neighbor’s barking dog?
- I’m having issues with my landlord, what can I do?
- I’m a grandparent, what are my custody/visitation rights?
- How do I represent myself in court?
- What is the statute of limitations for small claims court?
- What are the differences between divorce/separation/annulment?
- Can I look online to see when my hearing is scheduled?
April 29, 2017
April 29, 2017
BlawgSearch Law Librarian
April 29, 2017