Judicial Role in Promoting Access

What is the Judicial Role in Promoting Access to Justice? A judicial education program on self-represented litigation can assist judges in better handling such cases. It helps judges understand the complex needs of the self-represented in the courtroom, offers ways of thinking about the relationship between judicial neutrality and forms of non-prejudicial engagement, and offers specific suggestions and “scripts” for dealing with the situations that occur in such cases. The ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct provides that such engagement does not violate the mandate of judicial neutrality.

For additional information see the following resources:

Model Code of Judicial Conduct Provisions on Self-Represented Litigation Options for Alternative Comment Language Prepared in Support of Potential State Activity in Response to 2012 Resolution 2 of the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators.   Self-Represented Litigation Network (March 2013). 

Delaware’s Judicial Guidelines for Civil Hearings Involving Self-Represented Litigants The following Guidelines, which were adopted by the Delaware Supreme Court effective May 11, 2011, are designed to address concerns that Judicial Officers may have regarding balancing self-represented litigants’ perceptions of procedural fairness while maintaining neutrality in the courtroom, particularly when one party is self-represented and one has an attorney.

Opening Keynote Address to the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission Conference . This keynote address was delivered by Presiding Justice Jess Dickinson, Mississippi Supreme Court at the May 2012, Arkansas Access to Justice Commission, Clinton School of Public Service, and William H. Bowen School of Law conference titled Representing Hope: New Paradigms for Access to Justice.

Zorza, Richard. Turner v. Rogers: Improving Due Process for the Self-Represented. National Center for State Courts, Future Trends in State Courts (2012).

Richard Zorza. New Curriculum Helps Improve Access for the Self-Represented. (2008). National Center for State Courts, Future Trends in State Courts 2008.

Gray, Cynthia. REACHING OUT OR OVERREACHING Judicial Ethics and Self-Represented Litigants. American Judicature Society (2005).

Goldschmidt, Jona. Meeting the Challenge of Pro Se Litigation: A Report and Guidebook for Judges and Court Managers. American Judicature Society and the State Justice Institute. (1998).