Important New Report/Compilation on Self-Representation Resources in the States from John Greacen and Michigan State Bar Foundation

We have long needed a compilation of what the states have in place to assist the self-represented, and the Michigan State Bar Foundation recently contracted with John Greacen of Greacen Associates to prepare such a document to assist the state in moving forward.  It is now posted.

Particularly useful are:

A discussion at pages 8-29 of the National Report of forms and information available on court websites.  This will be helpful for states as they decide how to improve their online services.

A discussion of different other types of assistance (page numbers are of the national version):

What rules of professional conduct for lawyers authorizing and encouraging the provision of unbundled or limited scope representation legal services have been adopted by state court? .. 29
What judicial ethics rules or commentary (or the issuance of court rulings or advisory committee opinions) have state supreme courts promulgated to encourage judges to provide more assistance to self-represented litigants in the courtroom? ……………….. 35
Are there appellate court rulings approving self-represented litigant-friendly policies or striking down self-represented litigant-unfriendly policies?……………………………41
Do states provide, or do the courts allocate, funding for self-help centers or programs to assist self-represented litigants to prepare documents for filing and to prepare for court appearances? .   .  41
Do self-help centers provide certified or other interpreters for self-represented litigants whose primary language is not English? ……………………………………..44
Are there guidelines and policies for staff on what they can and cannot do to assist litigants? . .  . .. 45
Has the state judicial branch adopted principles governing the adoption of advanced technology by courts to ensure that such technologies can be accessed by self-represented litigants? ……. 47
Has the judicial branch implemented other statewide practices to support the participation of self-represented litigants, or having a beneficial impact on them?……………………………………. 47
Are there any other policies or practices designed to improve the experience of self-represented litigants, or having a beneficial impact on them? ………………………49
Do state courts have mechanisms other than appellate review for ensuring compliance with state judicial branch rules and policies affecting self-represented litigants?……………………….. 51

A Chart of state form and website information availability

A Matrix of state website information

A set of recommendations for Michigan, but of much more general use too.

A chart of the Triage/Continuum of Services Concpt:

(Note that the Report is under Creative Commons Copyright)

It is particularly useful that this is all becoming available just when states are absorbing the implications of Turner v. Rogersand starting to think about how to meet due process standards for the self-representedI would also point to the SRLN Best Practices as offering detailed suggestions and resources that can be helpful in deploying the innovations discussed in the Greacen Associates materials.

Kudos to the Michigan State Bar Foundation for conceptualizing this work, and to Greacen Associates for bringing it to fruition.

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About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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