Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Supreme Court today adopted six plain-language forms that can be used in certain civil cases in general sessions courts. General sessions courts handle specified civil cases that involve matters up to a limited dollar amount.
The forms simplify legal terminology to make it easy for Tennesseans to read and understand the information. The forms become effective for use in Tennessee courts on December 1, 2012.
The Court adopted the forms as part of its ongoing efforts to improve access to justice in Tennessee. The forms were proposed by the Court’s Access to Justice Commission and were approved after the Commission made modifications based on feedback received from the public.
“All Tennesseans should have equal access to the court system, regardless of income level,” said Chief Justice Gary R. Wade. “The forms are not intended to replace the need for an attorney, but rather provide a helpful resource for attorneys and also for Tennesseans who are representing themselves because they can’t afford to hire an attorney.”
Because the forms are approved by the Supreme Court, general sessions courts across the state are required to acknowledge and accept the submission of these forms if they are filled out properly.
The Tennessee Supreme Court announced its Access to Justice campaign in December 2008 in response to a growing legal needs gap in Tennessee. These needs were created as indigent and working-poor families faced more legal problems caused by unemployment, predatory loans, uninsured medical bills, domestic violence, evictions and foreclosures. As part of the campaign, the Court created the Tennessee Access to Justice Commission, which is made up of ten members from across the state.
The forms are available here.
For more information on the Access to Justice campaign, visit http://www.tncourts.gov/programs/access-justice.