Self-Represented Litigants

Impact of Self-Help Center Expansion in California Courts (January 2021)
This report describes the impact of expanded funding on California’s court-based self-help centers and contains a cost-benefit analysis of self-help services. It describes different methods of providing services and how self-help centers responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Handling Cases Involving Self-Represented Litigants: A Benchguide for Judicial Officers
This 2019 benchguide is intended to assist judicial officers in the handling of cases involving self-represented litigants. This benchguide was awarded the Howell Heflin Award by the State Justice Institute (SJI).

Guidelines for Self-Help Centers
The Judicial Council, in collaboration with judges, court executive officers, attorneys, and other parties with demonstrated interest in services to self-represented litigants, is charged with the development of these guidelines for dissemination to the trial courts. The guidelines were developed in March 2008, reaffirmed in March 2011 and are to be reviewed every three years.

Programs for Self-Represented Litigants: Fact Sheet
Highlights the accomplishments of the Task Force on Self-Represented Litigants, including the online Self-Help Center, the expanded use of family law facilitators, the Equal Access Fund, Family Law Information Centers, and self-represented litigant videos and publications.

A Report and Analysis of Action Plans Throughout California: Integrating services for self-represented litigants into the court system (June 2003)
This analysis of action plans developed by superior courts for serving self-represented litigants describes the impact of self-represented litigants on the court system and proposed solutions to improve access, efficiency and effectiveness of services.

Report of the Task Force on Self-Represented Litigants and Statewide Action Plan for Serving Self-Represented Litigants (February 2004)
The report of the Task Force on Self-Represented Litigants documents many of the activities of California's courts and sets out a plan for future statewide efforts to serve self-represented litigants efficiently and effectively.

California’s Court Self-Help Centers — Report to the Legislature (March 2007)
The report describes self-help programs funded during fiscal year 2005–2006. It documents the expanded number of self-help centers throughout the state as well as the increased services provided by those centers. The report describes their collaborations with legal services agencies, as well as their plans for future expansion.

Model Self-Help Pilot Program: A Report to the Legislature (March 2005)
This report presents the results of the evaluation of five pilot self-help centers that tested a variety of approaches to serving self-represented litigants, including collaborating to provide services across three small rural counties, developing ways to serve litigants with limited English proficiency, experimenting with different forms of technology to assist litigants, and coordinating existing services in a large urban area. The report documents the development and implementation of the projects and describes their impact on litigants and the court.

A Report to the Legislature - Family Law Information Centers: An Evaluation of Three Pilot Programs (March 2003)
This report documents the success of three pilot Family Law Information Centers which provided services to more than 45,000 litigants each year with high satisfaction of customers and judicial officers.