Thank you for taking the time to answer these important questions.

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* Your Name

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* Are you a candidate for the Senate or the Assembly?

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* What is your District Number?

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* What is your party affiliation? Check all that apply.

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* Are You an Incumbent or Challenger?

BACKGROUND

The NYS trial court system could be restructured to make it more efficient, effective and accessible. Because you will be responsible for legislation that impacts access to the courts, we are asking these questions. We have provided brief background information to help you with your responses.
DIAGRAM

As the following diagram illustrates, simplifying the New York Court system would create a streamlined two-tier structure comprising a new Supreme Court (consisting of the current Supreme Court, County Court, Family Court, Surrogate’s Court and the Court of Claims) and a District Court system. The District Court would include the current District Courts on Long Island, the New York City Civil and Criminal Courts, and the City Courts outside New York City. There would be no change in the present Town and Village Justice courts.

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Current and Proposed Court Structure : Note that the appeals process would remain the same as it is today.

<strong>Current and Proposed Court Structure : Note that the appeals process would remain the same as it is today.</strong>
Before You Answer : Information on Question 1.

New York has eleven different trial courts each with unique and sometimes limited jurisdiction – many litigants, large and small businesses, attorneys, local government agencies and not-for-profit and advocacy organizations must appear in different courts in cases involving the same parties. This costs our local, county and State money, is a waste of time and reduces equal access to justice, especially for those without counsel. A streamlined, two-tier court system of the present day multiple varied courts (see diagram) - would modernize justice in New York.  Improving the court system would not eliminate courts, it would simplify the structure. (In order to simplify the New York State Court System, an amendment to the NYS Constitution is necessary - to understand that process please visit our website; note: it does not require a constitutional convention - it may be done by the legislature)

Before You Answer : Information on Question 2.


It has also been proposed that focusing on family matters and establishing one court to address all family-related issues without restructuring the entire Court System would provide significant relief to the system and litigants. 

The 2016 Report of the Permanent Commission on Access to Justice, recommended that court simplification be implemented to consolidate jurisdiction for all family-related matters in one court.

  • Families have to litigate their related matters in multiple courts—most typically, Supreme Court for matrimonial matters and Family Court for child custody and visitation.
  • There is potential for conflicting determinations by judges when aspects of the related cases are handled by other judges in other courts.
  • Numerous appearances in different courts force litigants to miss more work.
  • Litigants with disabilities face additional and often insurmountable challenges related to travel and access; some reportedly have to abandoned their litigation because of these challenges.
  • Court simplification would allow for assignment of counsel at the earliest possible stage.
  • Court simplification would provide all families with access to the numerous services and resources that are currently only available in Family Court.

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* Would you support simplifying the State’s major trial courts into a two-tier structure?

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* Whether or not you support consolidating the entire court system, would you support court simplification for family matters, to consolidate jurisdiction for all family-related matters into one court?

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