Nashville, Tenn. –The Tennessee Supreme Court today adopted a new Rule that allows the high court to make certain court forms universally accepted in courts across Tennessee. The Court also filed a second order today approving eight plain-language forms that can be used in uncontested divorces without minor or dependent children.
The forms are written in plain language and come with a set of instructions to make it easy for Tennesseans to read and understand the information. The forms become effective for use in Tennessee courts on September 1, 2011.
The Court adopted Rule 52 and the corresponding divorce 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.
“The legal system should be accessible to all Tennesseans, regardless of income level,” said Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark. “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 choose to file for a divorce on their own because they can’t afford to hire an attorney.”
Because the forms are approved by the Supreme Court, courts across the state are required to acknowledge and accept the submission of these forms if they are filled out properly.
About the Access to Justice Initiative
In response to the growing civil legal needs gap in Tennessee, the Supreme Court made access to justice its number one strategic priority in 2008. The Court formally announced the Access to Justice Initiative in December 2008 and formed the Access to Justice Commission in April 2009. The Access to Justice Commission was tasked with creating a strategic plan, which was submitted to the Court on April 1, 2010. The strategic plan was unveiled in June 2010, which included plans for a pro bono summit and access to justice website, which will be launched in September 2011.
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