Judicial Guidance for Cases Involving Self-Represented Litigants

Judges are often unsure of how to handle cases which involve a self-represented party.

Resolution: Supporting Recognition of Chief Judge Eric T. Washington, DC Court of Appeals (2017)

Self-Represented Litigation Network Resolution 1-2017   Supporting Recognition of Chief Judge Eric T. Washington, District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Report: NCSC Judicial Conduct Reporter (Gray 2014)

This issue of the Judicial Conduct Reporter includes an indepth look at how states are addressing the ethics issues posed by sel

SRLN Brief: Procedural Fairness / Procedural Justice (SRLN 2015)

Research has shown that when defendants and litigants perceive the court process to be fair, they are more likely to comply with court orders and follow the law in the future—regardless of whether they “win” or “lose” their case.
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Article: The Disconnect Between the Requirements of Judicial Neutrality and Those of the Appearance of Neutrality when Parties Appear Pro Se: Causes, Solutions, Recommendations, and Implications (Zorza 2004)

In this article Richard Zorza explores the concept of engaged neutrality which, when employed by the judge, creates a more transparent and arguably more ethically neutral playing field for the self-represented litigant.
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Article: Practical Advice from the Trenches (Wilson & Hutchins 2015)

This article, by Judge Wilson and Judge Hitchins of Baltimore, discusses the value of neutral engagement in easy the tensions for the judge in the SRL courtroom.
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Article: Some First Thoughts On Court Simplification: The Key To Civil Access And Justice Transformation (Zorza 2013)

From the Abstract:

News: Alaska Court Uses Triage and Targeted Pro Bono Unbundled Legal Advice to Settle 80% of Contested Domestic Cases (Alaska State Court System 2015)

Various Supplementary Resources: Listen to a piece about ERP on NPR
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Article: A Judge’s View on the Benefits of ‘Unbundling’ (Juhas 2015)

This is an article about the value of unbundling by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark A. Juhas, who has presided in family court since he was appointed to the bench in 2002.

Article: Saving Courtroom Time: Techniques for Judges in Self-Represented Cases (Juhas, McKnight, Zelon, Zorza 2009, rev. 2015)

This article discusses 15 techniques that can increase courtroom efficiency when working with self-represented cases, and summarizes many of the practices suggested in the Judicial Curriculum (srln.org)