30 September 2012

The Self-Represented Litigant's Bill of Rights ...and Responsibilities

Today I've launched a new page in this blog, The Self-Represented Litigant's Bill of Rights ...and Responsibilities, to which you'll find a link in the list at the upper right-hand portion of this page with a much briefer title, "The Litigant's Bill of Rights."

The purpose of the page is to describe the expectations self-represented persons ought to have of the people they meet on the way through a court proceeding: the court staff who assist in court processes, the lawyers who may act for the other parties, and the judges and masters who hear case conferences, applications and trials. The page also describes self-represented persons' obligations to learn about court processes and procedures and the law that applies to the proceeding they are involved in, and to treat court staff and judges with courtesy and respect.

This page is a bit of a work in progress. It represents only my views and opinions, and I fully expect that others will take a different perspective on things; in all likelihood I have put emphasis in the wrong place and overlooked things that should be discussed. I welcome your comments, questions and criticism.

This page is a contribution to the larger discussion I think we need to have about the functioning of the justice system in a tough economic climate where lawyers are becoming increasingly unaffordable and both the courts and legal aid programs have become distressingly understaffed and underfunded. As such, the page may be reused, republished and redistributed without restriction.