I find myself more and more embarrassed that those of us in the access to justice movement have not been able to figure out how to do more to help particularly the self-represented deal with these cases. see. e.g. New York Times, A Happy Ending to a Raw, But Common Tale. It is not just about the potential for individual injustice, but also that the distortion in the system are perpetuated when one side’s position is neither challenged nor reviewed properly.
Some questions for consideration:
What help do courts need in figuring out how to better inform litigants of their rights?
What help do courts need in figuring out how to more completely consider cases, including processes to encourage solutions (mediation)?
What research needs to be done to get a better handle on the problem and what its consequences are?
I would very much appreciate thoughts and ideas on these and related question. I would also appreciate hearing about innovative programs that might be shared and replicated. Comment, or e-mail me, direct, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is one example, the Consumer Assistance Project, operated by Legal Services of Northern California, in cooperation with the Superior Court. Here is the leaflet. The project provides consultations on legal rights and self-representation, by appointment.