In the last decade, self-representation has increased exponentially. Self-represented litigants now appear on court dockets in almost every case possible including civil, criminal, felony, domestic relations, traffic, misdemeanor, small claims, probate and administrative cases. Self-represented litigants pose a special problem for the judge presiding over the case because they are not keenly aware of courtroom procedures and evidence rules. After this course, participants will be able to recognize when an indigent self-represented party may be entitled to court-appointed counsel; move a self-represented party civil docket expeditiously; use settlement techniques in cases involving self-represented litigants; recognize the limits on assisting self-represented parties; and apply innovative methods and strategies to ensure that these litigants have proper access to the justice system. After this program, participants will be able to describe some of the best practices for managing these difficult cases.
Why should I take this course?
Self-Represented Litigants (SRLs) now appear in court dockets in almost every area possible including domestic relations, traffic, criminal misdemeanor cases, small claims, and probate. SRLs pose a special problem for the judge presiding over such cases because SRLs are often not aware of courtroom procedures and evidentiary rules. Questions include: What is the role of the judge in the adversary system if one party has no lawyer? What control, if any, should the judge exercise over the presentation of evidence? Should a judge comment on the evidence? Should a judge call a missing witness? There are many more questions for judges in striving to maintain the integrity of the justice system and ensuring that the litigants have a fair and just trial. This course is designed to assist you in dealing with these tough questions.
What will I learn?
During this course, you will learn to:
- Recognize when an indigent SRL party may be entitled to court-appointed counsel in criminal and civil cases.
- Move a SRL party civil docket expeditiously.
- Recognize the limits on your ability to assist a SRL.
- Supply methods and strategies to ensure that SRLs have proper access to the justice system.
Who should attend?
This course is designed for judges who decide on civil and criminal cases involving SRLs and who need information about issues dealing with management of those cases involving SRLs.
Who are the members of the faculty?
Members of the faculty include persons who have a wide and diversified background in working with self-represented litigants.
How is this course taught?
This course is taught through lecture, small group discussion, question and answer, and experienced learning field trip to the local courthouse.
What should I tell my presiding judge or funding agency so that my attendance will be approved?
How a judge deals with SRLs is critical to management of court dockets as well as the public’s perception of the justice system. This course will help judges appropriately deal with SRLs to best serve the courts system and the public.
Whom should I contact for more information?
For more information, please contact the Registrar’s Office at (800) 255-8343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This course qualifies for The National Judicial College Certificate in Judicial Development program Administrative Law Adjudication Skills, Dispute Resolution Skills, General Jurisdiction Trial Skills, Special Court Trial Skills and Tribal Judicial Skills disciplines.