by Burnell K. Grimes, Jr.
J.D. Candidate, 2016, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
B.A., 2013, Indiana University – Bloomington; Bloomington, Indiana
Editor’s note: Mr. Grimes’s article was selected as the winner of the Indiana Law Review‘s first writing competition. You can read more about it here.
The Indiana State Legislature has established a statutory rule allowing a court to appoint an attorney to represent an indigent person in civil matters, upon application by the litigant. . In Sholes v. Sholes, the Indiana Supreme Court held that (1) Indiana Code section 34-10-1-2 requires appointment of counsel for civil indigent litigants, and (2) the appointed counsel must be compensated. . However, the Court did not specifically decide who would be responsible for compensating those attorneys who are appointed as counsel to indigent citizens. . While the Court suggests that the county courts use their authority to require payment as part of the functions of the court’s administrative duties, this has placed a significant burden on courts that are already constrained by tight county budgets. .
While there are many possible solutions to the funding problem associated with civil legal aid in Indiana, there is a need to establish one funding source responsible for all civil legal aid matters. . This article will discuss one possible solution to the funding problem for civil legal aid in Indiana, with a specific focus on the Indiana Civil Legal Aid Fund and the Indiana Pro Bono Commission. These funds may be used to address the funding and participation shortage for both civil indigent litigants and pro bono efforts and legal aid projects in Indiana.