Self-Help Centers

As a result of the spectacular efforts of our members during the last decade, there is a robust menu of Self-Represented Litigant (SRL) service options that have been tested and refined under a variety of conditions by a wide variety of providers. SRLN recently confirmed that forty-two states have adopted at least some SRLN best practices recommendations with respect to self-help centers and related reforms, and ten of these states have been able to develop comprehensive SRL service delivery systems such that every person in those states have access to some level of legal self-help. In addition to trial court reforms, SRL reforms have also made headway into the appellate courts.

Maryland Judiciary MD Court Help Logo

News: Self-Help Innovations in Maryland (News 2021)

The Maryland Court Help Center 2021 Provider Conference offered a glimpse into some of the cutting edge innovations in self-help in the COVID era.1  

Reaching SRLs During COVID: Outreach Campaigns Leverage Social Media, Ad Spots, and Traditional Print to Ensure SRLs Know Self-Help Support Is Still Available (News 2021)

With in-person support for SRLs limited or halted due to COVID, a significant number of self-help services are continuing to serve the public even when their court might be closed.

COVID-19 Resources

This page will be updated as more resources are identified. Last updated 12-9-20. SRLN COVID Response Memos 

Guide: Guidelines for the Operation of Self-Help Centers in California Trial Courts (California 2011)

The Administrative Office of the Courts, in collaboration with judges, court executive officers, attorneys, and other parties with demonstrated interest in services to self-represented litigants, is charged with the development of

Tool: CA Self-Help Centers' Self-Assessment Tool for Quality Programs (CA Courts 2018)

The California Self-Help Centers’ Self-Assessment Tool for Quality Programs was developed as a strategic and tactical planning template to promote quality Self-Help Center Programs across California.

Survey: SRLN Library Working Group National Self-Help in Libraries Survey (SRLN 2019)

SRLN Report (March 2021) Evaluating Library Services to Self-Represented Litigants: A Story of Two Surveys

Resource: Title IV-D Funding Resource Guide (SRLN 2014, revised 2017)

Many state court systems and individual courts take advantage of federal funding under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act to obtain reimbursement for the costs of adjudicating chi
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Report: Clearing a Path to Justice (MD Working Group on Self-Representation 2007)

This Report is a useful example for jurisdictions thinking about how to build analysis and support as they develop self-help services. From the table of contents:

SRLN Brief: Intro to Design Thinking (SRLN 2017)

In the Access to Justice space, design thinking practices from the technology space are increasingly embraced to improve the way people access legal services and to improve and simplify the processes themselves.

Resource: What is a Court Self-Help Center? (Judicial Council of California 2017)

The Judicial Council of California, with support from the Public Welfare Foundation, produced a nine minute video about the San Francisco's Access Center that explains what a self-help center is and how it provides triage and self-help services to