Civil Legal Services Program (CLS)
Legal aid for the poor is a major premise of our democratic society and the American judicial system. Across the United States, there are many individuals and organizations committed to ensuring that all Americans have equal access to justice, regardless of their ability to pay. In 2001, New Mexico joined 39 other states in establishing public funds as a mechanism for providing civil legal services for people living in poverty.
The 2001 New Mexico Legislature enacted laws creating the Civil Legal Services Fund and the Civil Legal Services Commission (NMSA 1978, § 34-14-1). A portion of magistrate, metropolitan and district court civil filing fees finance the Fund. The Fund was established to provide monies to secure civil legal services for low-income people in New Mexico. A five-member appointed Commission was established to adopt rules to govern the Fund, solicit proposals from nonprofit organizations to provide civil legal services, and enter into contracts with eligible service providers for disbursement of the Fund. The Fiscal Services Bureau of the Local Government Division, pursuant to the rules of the Commission, administers the contracts and programs funded. For more information on the program, contact Sandra Ortega at 505-827-4983.