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2024 California Rules of Court

Rule 10.960. Court self-help centers

(a) Scope and application

This rule applies to all court-based self-help centers whether the services provided by the center are managed by the court or by an entity other than the court.

(b) Purpose and core court function

Providing access to justice for self-represented litigants is a priority for California courts. The services provided by court self-help centers facilitate the timely and cost-effective processing of cases involving self-represented litigants and improve the delivery of justice to the public. Court programs, policies, and procedures designed to assist self-represented litigants and effectively manage cases involving self-represented litigants at all stages must be incorporated and budgeted as core court functions.

(c) Staffing

Court self-help centers provide assistance to self-represented litigants. A court self-help center must include an attorney and other qualified staff who provide information and education to self-represented litigants about the justice process, and who work within the court to provide for the effective management of cases involving self-represented litigants.

(d) Neutrality and availability

The information and education provided by court self-help centers must be neutral and unbiased, and services must be available to all sides of a case.

(e) Guidelines and procedures

The Advisory Committee on Providing Access and Fairness must recommend to the council updates to the Guidelines for the Operation of Self-Help Centers in California Trial Courts as needed. It should, in collaboration with judges, court executives, attorneys, and other parties with demonstrated interest in services to self-represented litigants, develop and disseminate guidelines, procedures and best practices for the operation of court self-help centers. The guidelines and procedures must address the following topics:

(1)  Location and hours of operation;

(2)  Scope of services;

(3)  Attorney qualifications;

(4)  Other staffing qualifications and supervision requirements;

(5)  Language access;

(6)  Contracts with entities other than the court that provide self-help services;

(7)  Use of technology;

(8)  Ethics;

(9)  Efficiency of operation; and

(10)  Security.

(Subd (e) amended effective January 1, 2015; previously amended effective February 20, 2014.)

(f) Budget and funding

A court must include in its annual budget funding necessary for operation of its self-help center. In analyzing and making recommendations on the allocation of funding for a court self-help center, Judicial Council staff will consider the degree to which individual courts have been successful in meeting the guidelines and procedures for the operation of the self-help center.

(Subd (f) amended effective January 1, 2016.)

Rule 10.960 amended effective January 1, 2016; adopted effective January 1, 2008; previously amended effective February 20, 2014, and January 1, 2015.

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