The Guam Law Library Improves Access to Justice on Guam
Thursday, March 11th, 2010 @ 4:23 pm
Categories: General Topics

By:      Andrew Serge Quenga

Guam Law Library Executive Director

Compiler of Laws

Access to justice requires access to the law. Accessibility to the laws that govern us is fundamental to understanding our rights and responsibilities so we can seek justice when it is necessary. The Guam Law Library provides such access seven days a week and for free.

The Guam Law Library is a nonprofit educational corporation created by Guam law. Our collection includes Guam laws, Administrative Rules and Regulations, Attorney General Opinions, Executive Orders, Superior Court and Supreme Court of Guam decisions. In addition, we have federal and state statutory codes and court decisions available on our shelves or via the internet on our public computer terminals. And the best part is that access to these materials is free to the public. While we cannot render legal advice, certain library services are available for nominal fees.

However, maintaining our collections and subscriptions is costly and like most libraries, we face mounting financial pressures. Our operations are essentially funded by fees paid by patrons of the court seeking the administration of justice and from fines levied against criminal defendants. But this does not guarantee our financial security as fines and fees have been tapped by law to fund other programs. Nonetheless, we continue to address the increasing inquiries from citizens who cannot afford to hire their own lawyers but wish to seek justice while at the same time working on solutions to very difficult financial pressures that affect our continued viability as a full service law library. One such solution was to combine the offices of the Compiler of Laws and that of the Executive Director of the Guam Law Library. This action, sponsored by the Judicial Council of Guam (under the leadership of former Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido) and the Guam Law Library Board of Trustees, creates efficiencies for both the law library and the Judiciary with little additional costs and reaffirms the bond between both institutions. As one of the Judiciary’s partners in addressing community wide access to justice, we will continue to work together to find solutions to ensure ongoing and stable operations of the Guam Law Library.

We are Guam’s only law library accessible to the public. In order to improve access to justice, our funding sources should not be compromised. We continue to work closely with the Guam Bar Association and the Judiciary of Guam to provide more meaningful assistance to those who choose to represent themselves in litigation and to improve the administration of justice in general.

We are located in Hagåtña across the parking lot from the Judicial Center and are open seven days a week.  Our hours of operation are 8:00 am to 6:30 pm Monday through Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday; and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Sunday.  Please visit our website at: www.guamlawlibrary.org.

Our mission is to improve access to justice by providing permanent access to the laws that govern us.