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
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 countys
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.