Court Navigators

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The access to justice crisis looms large. An estimated 30 million people each year are reported to lack legal representation in the state courts. A full spectrum of approaches is required to mitigate this crisis and one important approach is the use of “nonlawyer navigators” who come from outside the courts to assist self-represented litigants (SRLs) with their civil legal problems. This subject is discussed in a report published in June 2019, Nonlawyer Navigators in State Courts: An Emerging Consensus, based on a survey of the national landscape where “nonlawyer navigators” were defined as individuals who are not court staff, operate physically within a court, and provide direct “person-to-person” assistance to SRLs. They are individuals who do not have full formal legal credentials, who assist SRLs with basic civil legal problems, and who are part of a formal program.

This Navigator page has information about management of such programs as well as related communications and research materials. We hope this collection of documents will be helpful to all of those who wish to create their own nonlawyer navigator programs in their state courts to enhance access to justice for SRLs. A helpful contact list is also included should individuals designing their own materials wish to speak to others who have created such programs. 

We are very grateful to leaders of nonlawyer navigator programs in state courts all over the country. They were most helpful in providing useful documents and information to help guide others as they move forward to create new programs around the country. Please see in addition, on the research page above, reports on different kinds of navigator programs outside the courts as well.