Month: March 2023

Utah Supreme Court announces new project aimed to help people access free legal advice on housing issues

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – The Utah Supreme Court’s Office of Legal Services Innovation, in partnership with Innovation 4 Justice (i4J), an access-to-justice lab associated with both the University of Arizona and the University of Utah, announce a groundbreaking project. The project aims to empower community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide free, reliable, limited-scope legal advice on housing issues to the people they serve by participating in the Court’s legal regulatory sandbox (the Sandbox).

Housing instability is a significant challenge in Utah and across the nation, and many people facing eviction and foreclosure have difficulty accessing legal help. The new Housing Stability Legal Advocate (HSLA) Pilot Program will train and certify nonlawyers working within CBOs as HSLAs, bridging the gap in access to justice for vulnerable populations.

i4J will offer a free HSLA curriculum and certify individuals who complete the program with satisfactory scores. Once certified, HSLAs will provide free, limited-scope legal advice on housing-related issues through CBOs authorized to practice in the Sandbox. i4J will also continue to support participating CBOs with legal mentoring and assistance in complying with the Sandbox’s regulatory requirements.

The Utah Supreme Court has issued a Standing Order authorizing the HSLA Pilot Program. This order allows i4J-certified HSLA providers and their CBO employers to operate within a safe harbor, protecting them from enforcement actions based on the unauthorized practice of law, provided they comply with the Standing Order, the regulatory requirements of the Office of Legal Services Innovation, and all other applicable state and federal statutes and regulations.

The HSLA Pilot Program will focus on four key areas:

● Issue spotting for housing stability issues during CBO client intake

● Providing legal advice and assistance with identified housing issues before they advance to court

● Providing legal advice and assistance with post-judgment procedures

● Providing legal advice and assistance related to other state and federal assistance programs

It is important to note that HSLAs are not authorized to represent others in any Utah state court at this time.

This innovative approach to addressing housing issues is a significant step forward in the Supreme Court’s efforts to bridge the access to-justice gap. By leveraging the expertise of CBOs and providing necessary training and support, the HSLA Pilot Program has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of those facing housing instability in Utah.

For more information about the Housing Stability Legal Advocate Pilot Program please visit


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Sanpete County, UT—The Sanpete County Nominating Commission has selected three nominees for the judicial vacancy that will serve Sanpete County, Utah. The position will replace Judge John  R. Cox who retired in December, 2022.

Following are the nominees followed by place of employment and residence:

• Judge Barbara Finlinson, J.D., Juab County and Nephi City Justice Court Judge,  resident of Nephi,

• Judge Mark McIff, J.D., Judge in 12 other justice courts in the Sixth District, resident of  Richfield, and

• David Tibbs, J.D., retired attorney at law, resident of Manti.

A comment period will be held through March 19, 2023. A final candidate will then be  selected by the Sanpete County Commission within 30 days. The selection must then be  certified by the Utah Judicial Council. To submit written comments about the candidates,  please contact Amy Hernandez at

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Sanpete County, UT—The Sanpete County Judicial Nominating Commission has scheduled a meeting on March 8, 2023 to review applications for a justice court judge position that will serve Sanpete County, Utah. The position will replace Judge John R. Cox who retired in December of  2022. The Commission will begin the meeting at 12:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Sanpete County Courthouse (located at 160 N Main St #303, Manti, UT 84642).

The early portion of the meeting is scheduled for public comment about issues facing the Utah judiciary and improvements to the system. Public comments will be accepted from 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Following the public comment period, the meeting will be closed to allow commission members to review applications for the vacancy.

Individuals interested in appearing before the commission during the public comment portion of the meeting should contact Amy Hernandez at (801) 578-3809 or to request an appointment.

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