California Bar Journal
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Ventura County judge wins Aranda Award

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In 1997, the Ventura County Superior Court opened its Self-Help Legal Access (SHLA) Center to provide assistance to self-represented litigants in civil matters. The recipient of numerous awards in subsequent years, SHLA was the brainchild of presiding Judge Charles W. Campbell Jr., who also supported the opening of a satellite center in 1998 as well as a mobile center that travels to remote parts of the county.

For his work in launching the self-help operations, as well as a long record of innovation in the Ventura County courts, Campbell this month will receive the Benjamin Aranda Access to Justice Award. Given by the California Commission on Access to Justice, the award honors a California judge for efforts to improve access to justice by poor or low-income persons.

Campbell, who worked as a district attorney for nine years before joining the bench in 1988, has supported or helped to establish the county’s therapeutic courts, including juvenile and adult drug courts and the domestic violence court, as well as a teen court and a homeless court pilot project, conducted at shelters and support agencies. A strong supporter of pro bono efforts, he won the consent of other judges to grant priority on court calendars to attorneys appearing pro bono.