The Fund For Modern Courts

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Click Here for Up to Date Information on the New York State Courts and the Coronavirus

Information on State and Federal Courts: Covid-19 Crisis Compiled by the Brennan Center


Donate to Modern Courts

The Fund for Modern Courts is a non-partisan, independent, statewide, court reform organization that advocates for the improvement of the New York State court system and for ensuring a diverse, highly qualified and independent judiciary. Our advocacy efforts, citizens’ court monitoring programs, engagement of large law firms in the support of projects that improve access to justice, current issue-based forum development, collaboration with civil legal service and criminal justice organizations, court monitoring and Task Force research projects provide the means by which Modern Courts achieves a wide range of improvements in the State judiciary.


The Fund for Modern Courts will not be holding its annual McCloy event in May. For now, the event has been postponed until October 26, 2020. We are grateful to Richard Edlin and the Hon. Judy Kluger for being our honorees and deeply hope we will be able to proceed with the event and honor them in the Fall at Bryant Park Grill. If not, we will host a virtual event. 

.  At the appropriate time we will send another invitation.  Right now, on behalf of our staff and board, please stay safe during this most difficult time.  Thank you.  Click here for more information and to RSVP for McCloy Award 2020.


New York’s Court System is a relic from the 19th century.

To provide justice today, we must modernize the New York State court system.

Our present multiple court system creates confusion among the people the courts are supposed to serve, gives judges only partial ability to see the full picture of the case, wastes time for litigants which often results in loss of work and wages, and generates a system that is difficult, if not impossible, to understand.

Simplification will remove the barriers that impact litigants, families, victims, local government, small business, lawyers, nonprofit organizations, judges and court personnel and anyone who uses the courts because it will integrate the courts in a way that eliminates the need to go to different courts for different yet related issues. Court simplification will permit more resources to go to the courts that need them the most.

Visit our Simplify the Courts! Website


Campaign for Court Simplification

An Invitation to Join the Statewide Coalition for Court Simplification

Our growing Coalition has over 100 Members.

Join the Coalition and/or email List

See the Coalition Members


Fines and Fees and Jail Time in New York Town and Village Justice Courts

The Unseen Violation of Constitutional and State Law

The report found that many town and village justice courts throughout New York ignore the law by issuing bench warrants and jail terms for defendants who are unable to pay fines and fees due to their poverty.

Failure to pay the fines imposed by the justice courts can result in significant consequences for a defendant, including imprisonment until the fine is collected. The report, which is based on extensive interviews, discussions and a statewide-survey, makes it clear that imprisonment for failure to pay fines stretches across New York.

Read Modern Courts’ Fines And Fees Report


Modern Courts’ Report on ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and the New York Courts

Protecting the Administration of Justice in New York State: Impact of ICE Arrests on New Yorkers’ Access to State Courthouses

Read Modern Courts’ Report on Ice in the Courtroom


Legal reference guides on the complex intersection of family court issues and federal immigration laws, policy, and enforcement.

These legal reference guides are created for all who use the courts. We focus on providing members of the NYS judiciary and court personnel with an accessible resource that presents the important role of state court judges. The materials are also useful for attorneys, community organizations, nonprofits, government agencies and the public.

Visit the Immigrants and State Courts Website

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