Courtroom Management of Self-Represented Cases

How to Improve Courtroom Management of Self-Represented Litigants? There are a number of strategies that can be employed to improve courtroom or hearing management of self-represented litigants.  These can include prehearing reviews of files, referring litigants to self-help attorneys or volunteers before the hearing, and having access to legal assistance during the hearing.  By notifying the litigants of specific rules or requirements ahead of time such as early check-in with the clerk, delays can be avoided.  Similarly, by taking a moment to explain the process before the hearing begins, the judge can set the tone and make courtroom procedure clear to all parties including the self-represented.

For more information see the following resources:


John A. Clarke and Bryan D. Borys. Usability Is Free: Improving Efficiency by Making the Court More User Friendly. (2011).

Handling Cases Involving Self-Represented Litigants: A Benchguide for Judicial Officers . Judicial Council of California (January 2007).


Blackwell, Libby. Guiding Self-Represented Litigants Through the Litigation Process. Institute for Court Management, Court Executive Development Program Project. (May 2010). This paper discusses a workflow process designed to assist self-represented litigants with minor children in divorce cases for DeKalb County Superior Court.


Judicial Guidelines for Civil Hearings Involving Self-Represented Litigants . The Massachusetts Court System.


Cook, Cynthia. Self-Represented Litigants in Family Law Cases in Jackson County, Missouri. Institute for Court Management, Court Executive Development Project. (2007).