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Bench-Bar 2018 Handouts are still available

View and save the handouts from Bench-Bar 2018.

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.


Burundi voters approve constitutional amendment extending presidential term limits

Burundi announced on Monday that voters had approved amending the nation's constitution [text, PDF] to extend presidential term limits from five years to seven. According to the election commission chief, 73 percent of voters supported [Al Jazeera report] changing the constitution. Nineteen percent voted against the amendment. The amendment gives Burundi's president, Pierre Nkurunziza [BBC profile] the ability to potentially stay in office until 2034. Nkurunziza, who has been in office since 2005, is currently serving his third term, although Burundi's constitution sets a two-term limit. Burundi's opposition party expressed concern that the election was rigged. Opposition leader Agathon Rwasa... Full Story››

Malaysia to investigate management of development company

The Malaysian government on Monday announced the creation of a special task force to look into whether there were criminal acts committed by the management of the 1 Malaysian Development Berhad (1MDB) [BBC report]. The task force is asked to identify and seize assets that were acquired from the illegal siphoning from the state fund. Former prime minister Najib Razak created the fund in 2009 and was in charge of the government when the scandal first broke. Razak was defeated this past election by Mahathir Mohamed in an upset snap election on May 10 [BBC report]. The task force will... Full Story››

Supreme Court sends tribe's land dispute back to Washington state court

The US Supreme Court on Monday vacated and remanded [opinion, PDF] the Washington State Supreme Court ruling for the Lundgren family in Upper Skagit Indian Tribe v. Lundgren [SCOTUSblog materials]. The Upper Skagit Indian Tribe had purchased a 40-acre plot of land. After a survey of the land, they believed that an acre of their property was fenced off by Sharline and Ray Lundgren. The Lundgrens claimed the doctrines of adverse possession and mutual acquiescence in Washington state court gave them title to the disputed land. Upper Skagit responded by asserting sovereign immunity from the suit. The Washington State Supreme... Full Story››

UN human rights council votes to investigate Israel for alleged international law violations in Gaza

The UN Human Rights Council [official website] passed a resolution [press release] on Friday to send an independent investigation commission to examine alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that occurred in response to mass protests by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and surrounding territory. A press release stated:The Council condemned the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians, including in the context of peaceful protests, particularly in the Gaza Strip, and called for an immediate cessation of all attacks, incitement and violence against civilians throughout the occupied Palestinian... Full Story››

Supreme Court agrees to hear four new cases

The US Supreme Court [official website] added [text, PDF] an additional four new cases to its docket on Monday, ranging from preemption of a state ban on uranium mining to allowing for attorney's fees in social security claimants' cases. In Virginia Uranium v. Warren [cert. petition, PDF], the court agreed to decide when federal law trumps state law in terms of an important nuclear-safety question. In Jam v. International Finance Corp. [cert. petition, PDF], the court will decide whether international organizations have the same immunity as foreign governments under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act [text, PDF]. In Royal v. Murphy... Full Story››