Self-Representation Resource Guide

Our experts recommend

  • Justice for All
    One of the biggest challenges in the court system is the increasing number of self-represented litigants.  As the number of self-represented litigants in civil cases continues to grow, courts are responding by improving access to justice and making courts more user-friendly. Innovations include:
    • simplifying court forms,
    • providing one-on-one assistance,
    • developing guides, handbooks, and instructions on how to proceed,
    • offering court-sponsored legal advice,
    • developing court-based self-help centers,
    • collaborating with libraries and legal services,
    • and using Internet technologies to increase access.

This has not only empowered people to solve their own problems and improved the public’s trust and confidence in the courts, but has likewise benefited the courts through improved caseflow and increased quality of information presented to judges.

Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.


Featured Links

General

Clearinghouses Organizations

  • AARP Pro Se Legal Hotlines Map. Provides links to various legal hotlines for the elderly.
  • Courtroom Advice. Courtroom Advice contains over 80 articles written by experts to help litigants navigate the court system in the United Kingdom.
  • LawHelp.org. This national Web site, hosted by Pro Bono Net, provides links to LawHelp Web sites in all 50 states. These Web sites provide links to legal service organizations as well as legal assistance on a variety of topics by state.
  • Pro Se/Unbundling Resource Center. ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services This resource center provides an extensive list of both print and online publications on unbundling legal services.

CCJ and COSCA

  • Tribe, Lawrence. Access to Justice Resources. (2010). This document is a listing of resources for implementation of access to justice recommendations made to the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators.
  • COSCA Resolution 31. (August 2002). COSCA/CCJ Task Force on Pro Se Litigation In Support of a Leadership Role for CCJ and COSCA in the Development, Implementation and Coordination of Assistance Programs for Self-Represented Litigants.  This COSCA/CCJ resolution was adopted as proposed on August 1, 2002 in Rockport, Maine.

Court Based Self Help

Court Rules

Judges and Pro Se Litigants

  • Handling Cases Involving Self-Represented Litigants: A Benchguide for Judicial Officers. (January 2007). Center for Families, Children, and the Courts. California Administrative Office of the Courts This comprehensive bench guide, the first of its kind, was designed to help judicial officers handle the increase in cases involving self-represented litigants. Twelve chapters of helpful suggestions are provided, along with sample scripts and checklists.

Technology

  • Rebecca Love Kourlis and Riyaz Samnani. Court Compass: Mapping the Future of User Access Through Technology. (May 2017). Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. This report provides a review of court-offered solutions for self-represented litigants (SRLs), along with maturity models to guide the development of integrated solutions in courts nationwide.