Rule and Process Simplification

How Does Rule and Process Simplification Improve Access to Justice? Court processes and rules can take on a life of their own.  Often these complex procedures can be simplified and improve efficiency and access for everyone including the self-represented litigant.  When litigants are able to access information and forms and understand the processes, public trust and confidence in the judicial system can be improved.  The role of the judge is crucial in addressing this simplification process.

For additional information see the following resources:

Clarke, Thomas M. (2017). Preliminary Evaluation of the Washington State Limited License Legal Technician Program.

Office of Child Support Enforcement.  This guide offers information to help parents, and people who work with parents, better understand the child support review and modification process. There are two parts of the guide:  Changing a Child Support Order and State by State - How to Change a Child Support Order. (March 2014).


Zorza, Richard Some First Thoughts on Court Simplification:  The Key to Civil Access and Justice Transformation.  (2013). Drake Law Review.

Crawford, Chris. Emerging Technology Trends that Will Transform Courts. (2011). National Center for State Courts, Future Trends in State Courts.

Clark, Melanca and Daniel Olmos. Emerging Strategies in Foreclosure Mediation. (2011). National Center for State Courts. Future Trends in State Courts.

Pal, Nabanita. Facing Foreclosure Alone: The Continuing Crisis in Legal Representation. The Brennan Center. November 2011. Data indicates that most homeowners have no legal advice for foreclosure proceedings. Twenty states have a foreclosure process that is done predominantly through the courts. Litigants in the remaining states have an even greater burden in accessing legal assistance.

State Related Programs:

Clarke. Thomas Non-Lawyer Legal Assistance Roles, National Center for State Courts (2015).

The New York City Court Navigator Program trains college students, law students and other persons deemed appropriate by the Program to assist unrepresented litigants, who are appearing in Nonpayment proceedings in the Resolution Part of Housing Court or the Consumer Debt Part of the Civil Court. A recent study conducted by researchers from the American Bar Foundation and the National Center for State Courts and funded by the Public Welfare Foundation found positive impacts of the Court Navigator program. The executive summary and the full report can be found here.

Family Law Limited License Legal Technicians  The Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Board derives its authority from the Washington State Supreme Court under Rule 28 of the Admission to Practice Rules (APR), adopted effective September 1, 2012. APR 28 authorizes non-attorneys who meet certain educational requirements to advise and assist clients on specific areas of law.

Civil Justice Strategies Task Force  The charge of the task force is to analyze the reasons for the existing “justice gap,” to evaluate the role of the legal profession in addressing the crisis, to seek the input of groups who have been working to expand access to justice to understand what efforts have worked and which have not been successful, to study creative solutions being considered in other states and other countries, and to develop an action plan with recommendations for steps that should be taken to fill the justice gap and achieve true access to justice in California. One possibility is the Limited License Working Group.

Colorado has a Self-Represented Litigant Coordinator (Sherlock) for every county. Every district has a Self-Help Center that is staffed by one or more "Sherlock". They provide assistance to people needing help navigating through the court system. This directive provides information on what they can or cannot do. 

Texas - Task Force on Judicial Foreclosure Rules. The Supreme Court of Texas The Texas Supreme Court has issued an Order Creating Task Force on Judicial Foreclosure Rules to examine Rules 735 and 736 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, rules intended to address judicial foreclosure of home equity loans and reverse mortgage loans. The Task Force website includes links to Task Force meetings and forms.