Section 2. There is hereby created a body politic and corporate to be known as the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation for the purpose of providing financial support for legal assistance programs that provide representation to persons financially unable to afford such assistance in proceedings or matters other than criminal proceedings or matters, except those proceedings or matters in which the commonwealth is required to provide representation. The corporation may, however, provide financial support for legal assistance programs that provide representation to complainants financially unable to afford such assistance in proceedings before the Massachusetts commission against discrimination. The corporation is hereby constituted a public instrumentality of the commonwealth and the exercise by the corporation of the powers conferred in this chapter shall be deemed and held to be the performance of an essential public function. The corporation is hereby placed under the supreme judicial court but shall not be subject to the supervision or control of said court or of any other board, bureau, department, or agency of the commonwealth except as specifically provided in this chapter.