News from Self Help Support October 2007

“… is an award winning membership site that serves as a Network for Practitioners of Self-Help Programs as well as an online Clearinghouse of information relating to self-representation.”

“…Members include courts, legal aid programs, bar associations, educational institutions, researchers, and other governmental and non-profit programs working to increase access to justice. Usage of the site and of materials accessed is for non-commercial purposes only.”

You can go directly to Selfhelpsupport at


Positions Available. The Montana State Court Administrator’s Office is seeking a Self Help Law Program Administrator–closing date is October 30, 2007.

NEW in the Library:

Procedural Fairness: A Key Ingredient in Public Satisfaction–A September 27, 2007 American Judges Association white paper by Minnesota Judges Kevin Burke and Steve Leben.

Statement of Principles on Self Represented and Accused Persons–adopted by the Canadian Judicial Council in September 2006. Includes promoting the rights of the accused, promoting equal justice, and outlines the responsibilities of the participants in the justice system to serve the self represented.

Clearing a Path to Justice: A Report of the Maryland Judiciary Work Group on Self Representation in the Maryland Courts–an August 2007 report on current efforts, initiatives, and recommendations on programs for the self represented in Maryland.

“Spreading and Adopting Best Practices for Court-Based Programs for the Self Represented”–a just released 2007 NCSC Future Trends in State Courts article by R. Zorza.

Are you and your case right for self representation?–three interactive quizzes for litigants thinking about representing themselves in court. Developed by the People’s Law Library of Maryland.

Formal Opinion 07-446: Undisclosed Legal Assistance to Pro Se Litigants–This May 5, 2007 formal ABA opinion states “A lawyer may provide legal assistance to litigants appearing before tribunals “pro se” and help them prepare written submissions without disclosing or ensuring the disclosure of the nature or extent of such assistance.”

“Increasing Access to Justice for Self Represented Litigants through Web Technologies”—a just posted NCSC 2007 Future Trends in State Courts article by M. Herman. Examples of innovations are provided.

“Trends in Library Collaborations to Provide Access to Legal Information”—this recently posted NCSC 2007 Future Trends in State Courts article by B. Fritschel provides examples of library collaborations with courts, public libraries, non-library groups, and other jurisdictions.

NEW In the News:

Appellate Judge Honored for Access Efforts–Orange County CA Judge Kathleen O’Leary receives an award for her efforts to increase access to justice.

Going it alone in the courtroom–this October 17, 2007 Star Ledger article discusses the increase in self representation in New Jersey.

WI Librarians trained to help lawyerless litigants find legal resources–an October 9, 2007 Library Journal article by Jennifer Pinkowski.

New way to practice wins support–an October 2007 California Bar Journal article on limited scope legal assistance in Santa Clara County.

Legal Self Help Centers Open–2 new self help legal centers opened on October 8, 2007 in Pinellas County Florida according to the Pinellas Co. News.

Public library initiative to help serve needs of self-represented litigants–read this September 21, 2007 Wisconsin Court System announcement.

CA Equal Access Newsletter, vol. 1 (September 19, 2007)–read about the latest news on self help services from California.

Computer program helps the poor get their day in court–a Sept. 24, 2007 Chicago Tribune article on the A2J (Access to Justice) tool developed by the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Probate court pilot expands to Norfolk–a September 24, 2007 MA Lawyers Weekly article regarding their new limited scope representation pilot.

Self help desk for non-lawyers under way–an August 7, 2007 Lincoln NE Journal Star article on their first self help center.

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