Editorial: Judicial Assistance To Self-Represented Litigants

Last year, the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators passed a joint resolution recommending the adoption by state courts of alternative model language for Rule 2.2 of the Model Code of Judicial Conduct specifically referring to self-represented litigants (SRLs).

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What's being said

  • Peter Szymonik

    The above approach, while notable, represents little more than a Band-Aid to try and cover up a much larger issue and problem. That issue and problem being that the court systems in this country and the legal industry have simply failed to understand and respond to the dramatic impact the implosion of Wall Street has had on main stream America. The money that used to fuel the operational dysfunction in many court systems is now gone. What this means is that people can no longer afford attorneys or proper legal representation. Lawyers are closing up shop across the country, and more and more corporations are working to avoid the court system in favor of arbitration - given how slow, costly and completely ineffective our courts have become.

    Nowhere is this more glaringly evident than in many states "family" court systems - where in states like Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, over 80% of all litigants are now Pro Se, bringing the courts to the state of crisis and complete breakdown as families are bankrupted and children suffer due to the resulting court delays. All of this magnifying the inherent operational dysfunction and corruption in these courts.

    Until the legal system in this country comes to grips with the reality of main street America, and Chief State Justices and legislatures show the courage to institute much needed legal reform and address corruption in courthouses, public and corporate confidence, faith, and use of the court system will continue to deteriorate rapidly - and this is no one's best interests.

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