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Municipal Law Seminar

CLE on the Open Records and Open
Meetings Laws

For government agencies, the Right-to-Know Law (involving open records) and the Sunshine Act (involving open meetings) serve as important laws designed to ensure governmental transparency.  The County of Berks will be hosting a training session, co-sponsored by the Berks County Bar Association, presented by Office of Open Records Chief of Outreach and Training and Open Records Officer George Spiess on fulfilling governmental agencies’ obligations under these two statutes between 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.  The training will take place in the Second Floor Auditorium in the County Services Center, located at 633 Court Street in Reading.   The training is free, except attorneys seeking 1.5 CLE substantive credits will be charged a $10.00 processing fee.

Register here››

The CLE processing fee will be collected at the door.


Important Statements of Support

Statement in Support of Federal Funding of Civil Legal Services

MidPenn Legal Services provides free representation to Berks County low-income families needing help with child custody, domestic violence, housing, public benefits, employment and consumer issues.

Statement in Support of Federal Funding of Legal Aid continued››

Berks County Bar Association Board of Directors Statement
on Judicial Independence

In light of recent, critical comments by the President of the United States directed at members of our judicial branch of government while litigation was pending, and in light of the fact that judges who have been criticized, by rule, are not permitted to respond publicly, the Board of Directors of the Berks County Bar Association has decided that it is appropriate to issue this statement in support of our Federal Constitution.

Statement on Judicial Independence continued››

Access to Courthouse/Family Dockets

Access link here››

Looking for a Lawyer?

Have you just been served with a complaint seeking to foreclose on your home or to change the child custody arrangement or to evict you from your apartment?  Or are you considering bankruptcy?

You need to consult with an attorney.  Our members are skilled attorneys who can fight for your rights, draft valid legal documents and stand by you in the courtroom.  Don’t be misled by television ads for online legal forms.  Notaries and petition preparers cannot give legal advice or accompany you to court.  And “do-it-yourself” law is a fast lane to disaster.   Our members know Pennsylvania law, are available for personal consultations and are accountable to you. 

If you feel overwhelmed looking for the attorney right for you, go here for more information on what the Berks County Bar Association can do for you.

Foreclosure Mediation Program Continues

The Berks County Bar Association, in conjunction with the Berks County Courts and Neighborhood Housing Services, have created a program by which those threatened with the loss of their home can seek relief. The program began January 1 and is continuing.  Those served with a complaint in a consumer debt or home mortgage case may take advantage of the program.

Read More› for a description of the program.

The program is also explained on a recent "Ask a Lawyer" television show. Go here to view the program. As of July 16, 216 cases have requested to participate. Go here for a detailed update.


UN rights expert urges independent investigation into Myanmar violations

[JURIST] Yanghee Lee [official profile], the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, called [press release] Monday for an international investigation into the crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Myanmar government towards the Rohingya Muslim population. Lee said, "[t]he truth about whether all, or some, or any of these allegations are correct needs to be established. There is a need for a new set of investigations which are 'prompt, thorough, independent and impartial,' and this needs to happen soon, before the evidence is compromised." Lee proposed the Human Rights Council have an "urgent" discussion about... Full Story››

UK Law Commission: dementia patients detained without legal safeguards

[JURIST] People who lack the capacity to consent are being detained without appropriate checks and balances, according to a report [text, PDF] released by the UK Law Commission [official website] Monday. According to the report, people with dementia and learning disabilities are not being given Article 5 [text, PDF] safeguards before being deprived of their rights to liberty and security. Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF] provides that a person may be deprived of liberty if they are "of unsound mind" but in that case, they are entitled to proceedings that determine the lawfulness of... Full Story››

UN rights expert calls for more aid to Haiti victims of Hurricane Matthew

[JURIST] Gustavo Gallon [official profile], the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, called Monday for increased aid to victims of Hurricane Matthew. In his initial report [press release], Gallon recounted visiting High School Nord Alexis, a school where 525 affected families have sought refuge. Gallon said [UN News Centre report] that these families and others similarly situated required additional shelter and humanitarian aid. Gallon also commented on numerous other human rights issues in the country, including high rates of illiteracy among the general population, poor prison conditions, and an increase in verbal and physical attacks against... Full Story››

California joins multi-state lawsuit against revised immigration order

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra [official profile] announced [press release] Monday that his state would be joining Washington and Minnesota in their lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against President Donald Trump's revised executive order [JURIST report] banning citizens from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. In an announcement [press release] Monday, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said California is the latest state to join in opposition to the order, with Maryland, Massachusetts and New York also seeking permission to join the lawsuit. According to the press release, those requests are still pending. Echoing Ferguson's statement that "[c]utting some illegal aspects of... Full Story››

Egypt prosecutor: Mubarak to be released from detention

[JURIST] An Egyptian public prosecutor announced on Monday that former president Hosni Mubarak [BBC profile] will be released from detention in a military hospital. During a retrial this month, Mubarak, who was overthrown in 2011, was cleared [JURIST report] of conspiracy to murder protesters during the 2011 uprising, for which he had been sentenced to life in prison. Mubarak had also been convicted [Reuters report] of embezzlement, but the public prosecutor found that he had already served his sentence. According to his lawyer, Mubarak will be returning to his home in Heliopolis. Mubarak and other members of his administration have... Full Story››