Salt Lake City, Utah— In what is being called one of the most significant moves to narrow the access-to-justice gap ordinary people confront when faced with legal issues, the Utah Supreme Court on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve pursuing changes to the regulatory structure for legal services.
The changes, recommended by a joint Supreme Court/Utah Bar work group, focus on updating rules governing lawyers and allowing non-traditional legal services to be tested and approved in a, “regulatory sandbox.”
The result could mean expanding legal services that will meet the unmet legal needs of a large swath of society.
This is, “[m]aybe the most significant action for the access gap in years,” said Dr. Tom Clark, a leading figure in the access-to-justice arena, and a member of the work group. Chief Justice Matthew Durrant echoed Dr. Clark’s assessment, and reaffirmed the Utah Supreme Court’s, “dedication to tackling the access-to-justice gap,” and thanked the work group for its, “groundbreaking report.”
The work group, chaired by Utah Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas and former Utah Bar president John Lund, spent the last year working on how best to optimize regulation in a manner that fosters innovation and promotes other market forces so as to increase access to and affordability of legal services. The result was a 71-page study: (https://www.utahbar.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/FINAL-Task-Force-Report.pdf).
The next step will be for the Supreme Court to create an implementation task force, which will begin work on putting the recommended changes in place.
Aurora, UT—The Sevier County Judicial Nominating Commission has announced the appointment of Judge Cyndee Probert to fill the Aurora City Justice Court vacancy. The position will replace Judge Cordell Pearson who left the position in December, 2019.
Judge Cyndee Probert was appointed to the Fillmore City Justice Court in 2015. Judge Probert graduated from the American Institute for Medical Assisting with a certificate in medical office management. She was then employed at Sevier Valley Hospital. Judge Probert was later employed for eight years as an in-court clerk and office manager where she served both the Millard County and Fillmore City Justice Courts. Judge Probert is currently enrolled and completing coursework at the National Judicial College. She is also a member on the Board of Justice Court Judges.
The Commission unanimously passed an emergency rule waiving interest and penalties for late filed 2019 tax returns and payments of Corporations and Pass through entities such as LLCs. To receive this adjustment, these returns and payments have to be filed no later than July 15, 2020. The Commission also confirmed that by Utah statute, individuals will have the same time to file and pay their 2019 taxes as provided by the IRS, which is also July 15, 2020. Interested parties and tax practitioners are encouraged to go the Tax Commission Website and review the meeting materials reflecting the official action of the Commission.