For Immediate Release
2001-E/F Commerce Park Drive
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Maryland Judiciary Opens New Walk-In Center
to Provide Free Legal Help for Civil Cases
New Center in Baltimore City District Court Expands Walk-in Legal Services,
Increasing Access to Justice
(BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – September 22, 2017) – The Maryland Judiciary has opened a new walk-in center to provide free, convenient, limited legal help for Baltimore residents who have civil legal matters in District Court. The Self-Help Resource Center is located in the Baltimore City District Court at 501 East Fayette St. in Baltimore. Attorneys are available to provide help with the following civil legal matters:
- Small and large claims up to $30,000
- Debt collection
- Return of property
- Peace and protective orders
Self-Help Resource Center attorneys do not represent individuals in court. The service is provided to help people who are representing themselves.
“I commend the District Court for its efforts to expand the reach of our Self-Help Resource Centers to Baltimore. Achieving meaningful access to justice for people of all income levels is key to achieving the mission of the Judiciary, and the new Baltimore walk-in center is the latest example of the ongoing commitment to be responsive to the legal needs of people throughout the state,” said Mary Ellen Barbera, Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals. “Self-help centers allow Marylanders to obtain direct one-on-one civil legal assistance to obtain the information needed to help resolve legal issues.”
This is the Maryland Judiciary’s fourth District Court walk-in center. The District Court of Maryland’s Self-Help Resource Centers are also located in Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, and Wicomico counties. To date, nearly 57,000 people have received legal help through these centers. In exit surveys, 96 percent of clients “strongly agree” that the services they received were helpful.
“Baltimore’s new Self-Help Resource Center demonstrates the District Court’s commitment to improving and adapting services for self-represented litigants,” said John P. Morrissey, Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland. “People who do not have legal representation can now go to the courthouse to find legal information and the resources they need to prepare for their cases.”
The Baltimore walk-in center is staffed by attorneys employed by Maryland Center for Legal Assistance, LLC, a subsidiary of Maryland Legal Aid. Located inside the Baltimore City District Court at 501 East Fayette St., the District Court Self-Help Resource Center is open during regular courthouse hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No appointments are required.
“The Baltimore City District Court Self-Help Resource Center is yet another dependable and trustworthy resource where Baltimore City residents can find high-quality legal assistance and gain the knowledge and tools necessary that empower them to represent themselves in court,” said Maryland Legal Aid’s Executive Director Wilhelm Joseph. “We are grateful and appreciative that the Judiciary continues to implement unique ways to provide legal resources and assistance for people throughout the state.”
Walk-in centers are part of the Judiciary’s growing network of self-help resources. The Judiciary also offers self-help legal assistance by phone and live online chat. Survey data indicate that 79 percent of clients using the Judiciary Self-Help Centers have household incomes of less than $50,000 per year. To date, more than 166,000 people have received help remotely by telephone and live chat. Phone and live online chat services are available from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding court holidays.
Attorneys who staff the phone and live chat service answer questions on a full range of civil case types handled by both the Circuit Courts and District Court, including landlord-tenant, small and large claims, debt collection, return of property, peace and protective orders, foreclosure, and shielding and expungement of records, as well as family law matters such as divorce, custody, child support, and guardianship.
For more information, visit the Judiciary’s self-help website.
PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT:
(photos by the Maryland Judiciary)
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