WHEELING -– The West Virginia Access to Justice Commission will hold the fourth of six public forums to discuss access to justice barriers in West Virginia Sept. 26 in Wheeling.

The forum will be from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at West Virginia Northern Community College. The forum will be held on the first floor of Railroad (Main) Building, 1704 Market Street, Wheeling.

Information gathered from the hearing will be used to conduct a needs assessment regarding civil legal representation in the state.

The hearing panel will consist of West Virginia Access to Justice Commissioners.

Local legislators, judges, city and county representatives have been invited to attend. The Commission also encourages those who have experienced barriers to the civil legal system to sign up to speak.

The Commission would like to hear from speakers who can address a number of issues including language barriers, attorney fees, court costs, lack of transportation to courthouses, illiteracy, lack of notice, lack of disability accessibility, lack of sign language interpreters for the deaf, cognitive impairments, income just above poverty guidelines yet still prohibitive of obtaining legal services, and others.

Previous forums have been held in Beckley, Martinsburg, and Huntington. Others are scheduled Nov. 1 in Morgantown and Nov. 15 in Charleston.

The West Virginia Supreme Court established the Access to Justice Commission on Jan. 29, 2009, by Administrative Order. The purpose of the commission is to help West Virginians overcome barriers within the civil legal system. These hearings will allow the Commission to identify those barriers.

For those interested in speaking at the hearings or needing language or disability assistance, please contact Deborah Bogan at 304-558-0145 or by email at deborah.bogan@courtswv.gov.

All speakers will have a designated period of time allotted to them to convey their message.

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