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Pro se

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Mapping The Civil Justice Gap In Federal Court, Roger Michalski, Andrew Hammond Jan 2022

Mapping The Civil Justice Gap In Federal Court, Roger Michalski, Andrew Hammond

UF Law Faculty Publications

Unrepresented litigants make up a sizable and normatively important chunk of civil litigation in the federal courts. Despite their importance, we still know little about who these pro se litigants are. Debates about pro se litigation take place without sufficient empirical information. To help fill some of the gaps in our understanding of pro se litigants, this Article takes a new approach by mapping where pro se litigants live.

Using a massive data set of 2.5 million federal dockets from a ten-year period, we obtained addresses of non-prisoner pro se litigants. We then geolocated these addresses and cross-referenced that information …


Simplified Courts Can't Solve Inequality, Colleen F. Shanahan, Anna E. Carpenter Jun 2019

Simplified Courts Can't Solve Inequality, Colleen F. Shanahan, Anna E. Carpenter

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

State civil courts struggle to handle the volume of cases before them. Litigants in these courts, most of whom are unrepresented, struggle to navigate the courts to solve their problems. This access-to-justice crisis has led to a range of reform efforts and solutions. One type of reform, court simplification, strives to reduce the complexity of procedures and information used by courts to help unrepresented litigants navigate the judicial system. These reforms mitigate but do not solve the symptoms of the larger underlying problem: state civil courts are struggling because they have been stuck with legal cases that arise from the …


No Right To Counsel, No Access Without: The Poor Child's Unconstitutional Catch-22, Lisa V. Martin May 2019

No Right To Counsel, No Access Without: The Poor Child's Unconstitutional Catch-22, Lisa V. Martin

Faculty Publications

In the midst of the push for universal access to counsel in civil cases and the increasing proportion of litigants who represent themselves, a critical barrier to access to justice for children has been overlooked. Federal courts have created a catch-22 for child litigants. Children cannot bring claims themselves, so parents must bring the claims on their behalf. Federal courts refuse to allow parents to pursue these claims pro se, stating that parents cannot provide adequate legal representation. Yet, there is no right to counsel in civil cases, and these same courts typically conclude the children’s cases do not warrant …


A Guide To Knowing Your Rights With The Police And Getting Out Of Jail: Booklet 2, Thomas Harvey, Michael-John Voss, John Mcannar Jan 2019

A Guide To Knowing Your Rights With The Police And Getting Out Of Jail: Booklet 2, Thomas Harvey, Michael-John Voss, John Mcannar

All Faculty Scholarship

ArchCity Defenders created a self-advocating guide for people to use if they have an encounter with the police, jail or the courts.


A Guide To Knowing Your Rights With The Police And Getting Out Of Jail: Booklet 1, Thomas Harvey, Michael-John Voss, John Mcannar Jan 2019

A Guide To Knowing Your Rights With The Police And Getting Out Of Jail: Booklet 1, Thomas Harvey, Michael-John Voss, John Mcannar

All Faculty Scholarship

ArchCity Defenders created a self-advocating guide for people to use if they have an encounter with the police, jail or the courts.


Simplified Courts Can't Solve Inequality, Colleen F. Shanahan, Anna E. Carpenter Jan 2019

Simplified Courts Can't Solve Inequality, Colleen F. Shanahan, Anna E. Carpenter

Faculty Scholarship

State civil courts struggle to handle the volume of cases before them. Litigants in these courts, most of whom are unrepresented, struggle to navigate the courts to solve their problems. This access-to-justice crisis has led to a range of reform efforts and solutions. One type of reform, court simplification, strives to reduce the complexity of procedures and information used by courts to help unrepresented litigants navigate the judicial system. These reforms mitigate but do not solve the symptoms of the larger underlying problem: state civil courts are struggling because they have been stuck with legal cases that arise from the …


Liba2j! The Continuum Of Access To Justice Services, Yolanda Jones Jan 2017

Liba2j! The Continuum Of Access To Justice Services, Yolanda Jones

Library Faculty Publications

Some have urged law libraries to undergo what appears to be a large-scale transformation, where access to justice in incorporated as a core feature of the library mission. While Access to Justice (A2J) services are provided by many libraries, they can be seen by law library managers as costly, unfunded mandate. One way of approaching the issue is to consider library access to justice services as a continuum within the broader range of legal services. Within this Library Access to Justice Continuum (LIBA2J), librarians can select access to justice services consistent with their mission, budget, and general library resources. For …


Experiencing Experiential Education: A Faculty-Student Perspective On The University Of Tennessee College Of Law's Adventure In Access To Justice Author, Robert C. Blitt Oct 2016

Experiencing Experiential Education: A Faculty-Student Perspective On The University Of Tennessee College Of Law's Adventure In Access To Justice Author, Robert C. Blitt

Scholarly Works

This article functions both as a brief history lesson in experiential education and as a case study of an experiential course entitled “Human Rights Practicum” offered at the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2015. After briefly discussing historical and current trends in law school reform, including the rise of experiential education within the law school curriculum and the role played by technology in this context, the article turns to explore the impetus for the Human Rights Practicum, its development and implementation, as well as the software technology used to develop its final work product, a web-based “guided interview” …


From Victims To Litigants, Elizabeth L. Macdowell Jan 2016

From Victims To Litigants, Elizabeth L. Macdowell

Scholarly Works

This Article reports findings from an ethnographic study of self-help programs in two western states. The study investigated how self-help assistance provided by partnerships between courts and nongovernmental organizations implicates advocacy and access to justice for domestic violence survivors. The primary finding is that self-help programs may inadvertently work to curtail, rather than expand, advocacy resources. Furthermore, problems identified with self-help service delivery and negative impacts on advocacy systems may be explained by the structure of work within self-help programs and the nature of partnerships to provide self-help services. The Author uncovers previously unseen impacts of self-help programs on survivors …


Self-Help Reimagined, Lois R. Lupica Jan 2016

Self-Help Reimagined, Lois R. Lupica

Faculty Publications

We will never have enough lawyers to serve the civil legal needs of all low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals who must navigate civil legal problems. A significant part of the access to justice toolkit must include self-help materials. That much is not new; indeed, access to justice commissions across the country have been actively developing pro se guides and forms for decades. But the community has hamstrung its creations in two major ways. First, by focusing these materials on educating LMI individuals about formal law, and second, by considering the task complete once the materials are available to self-represented individuals. …


Communication And Competence For Self-Representation, E. Lea Johnston Jan 2016

Communication And Competence For Self-Representation, E. Lea Johnston

UF Law Faculty Publications

In Indiana v. Edwards, the U.S. Supreme Court held that states may impose a higher competency standard for self-representation than to stand trial in criminal cases. While the Court articulated a number of interests relevant to representational competence, it left to states the difficult task of formulating an actual competence standard. This Article offers the first examination and assessment of the constitutionality of state standards post-Edwards. It reveals that seven states have endorsed a representational competence standard with a communication component. Additionally, twenty states have embraced vague, capacious standards that could consider communication skills. States have applied these standards to …


Demand Side Reform In The Poor People’S Court, Jessica K. Steinberg Jan 2015

Demand Side Reform In The Poor People’S Court, Jessica K. Steinberg

GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works

A crisis in civil justice has seized the lowest rungs of state court where the great majority of American justice is meted out. Nineteen million civil cases are filed each year in the so-called “poor people’s court,” and seventy to ninety-eight percent of those matters involve an unrepresented litigant who is typically low-income and often a member of a vulnerable population. This Article challenges the predominant scholarly view in favor of “supply side” remedies for improving access to justice—that is, remedies focused exclusively on supplying counsel to litigants, either through adoption of “civil Gideon,” a universal civil right to counsel, …


Debt-Buyer Lawsuits And Inaccurate Data, Peter A. Holland Apr 2014

Debt-Buyer Lawsuits And Inaccurate Data, Peter A. Holland

Faculty Scholarship

Pursuant to secret purchase and sale agreements (also known as forward flow agreements), the accounts that banks sell to debt buyers are often sold “as is,” with explicit and emphatic disclaimers that the debts may not be owed, the amounts claimed may not be accurate, and documentation may be missing. Despite their full knowledge that the accuracy and completeness of the data has been specifically disclaimed by the bank, when they sue consumers, debt buyers tell courts that the information obtained from the bank is inherently reliable and accurate. In order to avoid a fraud on the courts, the contents …


Defending Junk-Debt-Buyer Lawsuits, Peter A. Holland May 2012

Defending Junk-Debt-Buyer Lawsuits, Peter A. Holland

Faculty Scholarship

Junk debt buyer lawsuits have overwhelmed the courts all across the United States. These lawsuits wreak havoc on consumers and their families. Often overlooked is the fact that judgments against consumers which are based on junk debt are part of a zero sum game, where every bogus judgment deprives a legitimate creditor of the chance to get paid from scarce resources. Thus, the legitimate creditor to whom money is owed is materially harmed by the junk debt buyer who extracts money based on an illegitimate claim, or who causes someone to declare bankruptcy. Providing representation to this otherwise unrepresented population …


The Role Of Equipoise In Family Law, Deborah Cantrell Jan 2012

The Role Of Equipoise In Family Law, Deborah Cantrell

Publications

Scholars reviewing family law over the last twenty years have described the field as having undergone a revolution. While true, both scholars and front-line family law advocates have failed to invent a satisfying end to the revolution. This Article takes up that challenge and offers a novel way forward, It identifies two translation challenges that have prevented the revolution from reaching its end. The first challenge is translating reform so that its benefits accrue equally across all kinds of participants--rich and poor, those with lawyers and those without. The second challenge is translating theory into on-the-ground practices useful to family …


The American "Rule": Assuring The Lion His Share, James Maxeiner Jan 2011

The American "Rule": Assuring The Lion His Share, James Maxeiner

All Faculty Scholarship

Court costs in American civil procedure are allocated to the loser (“loser pays”) as elsewhere in the world. When American civil procedure took shape in the 1840s, American lawyers thought that losing parties ought to indemnify winning parties against all expenses of lawsuits. Yet today, attorneys’ fees – the lion’s share of expenses in the words of the General Report – are not allocated this way. By practice – and not by legal rule – attorneys’ fees fall on the parties that incur them. Those fees are not set by statute or court decision, but by agreement between parties and …


The One Hundred Billion Dollar Problem In Small Claims Court: Robo-Signing And Lack Of Proof In Debt Buyer Cases, Peter A. Holland Jan 2011

The One Hundred Billion Dollar Problem In Small Claims Court: Robo-Signing And Lack Of Proof In Debt Buyer Cases, Peter A. Holland

Faculty Scholarship

Recent years have seen the rise of a new industry which has clogged the dockets of small claims courts throughout the country. It is known as the "debt buyer" industry. Members of this $100 billion per year industry exist for no reason other than to purchase consumer debt which others have already deemed uncollectable, and then try to succeed in collecting where others have failed. Debt buyers pay pennies on the dollar for this charged off debt, and then seek to collect, through hundreds of thousands of lawsuits, the full face value of the debt. The emergence and vitality of …


In Pursuit Of Justice? Case Outcomes And The Delivery Of Unbundled Legal Services, Jessica K. Steinberg Jan 2011

In Pursuit Of Justice? Case Outcomes And The Delivery Of Unbundled Legal Services, Jessica K. Steinberg

GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works

In the United States today, an estimated eighty percent of the legal needs of the poor go unmet. The Supreme Court has repeatedly identified access to the courts as a fundamental constitutional right, but a lack of affordable legal counsel has shattered the promise of this right for low-income individuals. There is widespread consensus that this “justice gap” between rich and poor litigants threatens the credibility of the justice system, undermines public confidence in the law, and distorts the accuracy of judicial decision-making.

The provision of “unbundled” legal aid has been this decade’s response to the severe shortage of lawyers …


Biting Off What They Can Chew: Strategies For Involving Law Students In Problem-Solving Beyond Individual Client Representation, Katherine R. Kruse Jan 2002

Biting Off What They Can Chew: Strategies For Involving Law Students In Problem-Solving Beyond Individual Client Representation, Katherine R. Kruse

Scholarly Works

Problem-solving is most often taught in the context of representing individual clients in small manageable cases where students retain primary control and develop a sense of ownership. Increasingly, law school clinical programs are involving students in broader service projects designed to meet the needs of clients that go unaddressed by the legal system. Student involvement in these projects presents challenges for the traditional model of problem-solving taught in individual case representation. This article explores the challenges of translating the problem-solving techniques employed in direct representation of individual clients into the larger context of problem-solving for a client community by examining …


Alternative Dispute Resolution And The Occupational Safety And Health Review Commission: Settlement Judges And Simplified Proceedings, Morell E. Mullins Sr. Jan 2001

Alternative Dispute Resolution And The Occupational Safety And Health Review Commission: Settlement Judges And Simplified Proceedings, Morell E. Mullins Sr.

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Access To Legal Remedies. The Crisis In Family Law, Jane C. Murphy Jan 1993

Access To Legal Remedies. The Crisis In Family Law, Jane C. Murphy

All Faculty Scholarship

Lack of access to the courts to resolve domestic disputes is a national problem which deserves the attention of both family law scholars and practitioners. Family law scholars have exhaustively critiqued both the substantive and procedural law governing dissolution proceedings. This analysis of rules and standards, however, is rarely conducted with the explicit goal of maximizing access to the courts for people of low and moderate income. This paper begins by assessing the dimensions of the problem through an explanation of the existing domestic legal needs studies. This paper also presents a case study of a typical multi-issue domestic case …