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Judicial Guidance for Cases Involving Self-Represented Litigants: Bench Guides

The SRLN Administrative Office of the Courts Working Group has collected court system resources that provide guidance for judges for cases involving self-represented parties. Here is a selection of Bench Guides:

  1. National: Handling Cases Involving Self-Represented LItigants: A National Bench Guide for Judges (2008)
  2. Massachusetts: Massachusetts Judicial Guidelines for Civil Hearings Involving Self-Represented Litigants (April 2006). (Attached) This manual includes guidelines for interactions pre-hearing, during the hearing, and post-hearing. It also includes judicial commentary.
  3. California: Handling Cases Involving Self-Represented Litigants: A Benchguide for Judicial Officers (January 2007).
  4. Delaware: Delaware’s Judicial Guidelines for Civil Hearings Involving Self-Represented LItigants (2011). (Attached)
  5. Illinois: Self-Represented LItigants in Civil Matters: Suggested Best Practices and Relevant Court Rules (October 2014). (Attached) Practical guidance for judges which includes checklists judges can use for explaining the trial process to self-represented litigants.
  6. Kansas: Judicial Guidelines Applicable to Civil Hearings Involving Self-Represented Litigants Including Commentary (Proposed) (Attached)