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.

Guidelines: Guidelines for the Operation of Self-Help Centers in California Trial Courts (CA 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.

National Association for Court Management 2020 Midyear Conference

The National Association for Court Management (NACM) is committed to providing innovative, engaging and emerging trends at its Midyear and Annual Conferences, typically held in February and July, respectively.

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

The Law Librarians’ Working Group of the Self-Represented Litigation Network surveyed law libraries in the summer of 2019 about their services, including self-help programs.

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

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:

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.

Video: What is a Court Self-Help Center? (CA 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

Resource: Equal Access Unit of the California Center for Families, Children & the Courts (California 2015)

The Equal Access Unit of the Center for Families, Children & the Courts has materials available for courts, court-­based self-­help programs, and other nonprofit providers of lega

Report: Resources to Assist Self-Represented Litigants: A Fifty State Review of the State of the Art (Greacen 2011)

This report was originally commissioned by the Michigan State Bar Foundation to assist Michigan’s Solutions on Self-Help (SOS) Task Force, but modified to serve as a national resource so that it may be of value