Pro Se: Meeting the challenge of self-represented litigants
Group: Wisconsin Court System
Self-represented, or pro se, litigants, while not a new phenomenon, are creating new challenges for the legal system as their numbers increase. Courts, bar associations, and national organizations are looking for ways to meet this challenge. Their efforts culminated in November 1999 with a national conference on pro se litigation sponsored by American Judicature Society, State Justice Institute, Open Society Institute, and the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services. The conference recognized that representing oneself is a constitutional right. In response to the national conference, Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson appointed a Pro Se Working Group that met for the first time on September 24, 1999. Seven members of the group attended the November 1999 national pro se conference. Over the course of 10 meetings, members reviewed the information gathered at the conference, as well as state and national research. Their findings are outlined in this report, which the Pro Se Working Group submits to Chief Justice Abrahamson. Meeting the Challenge of Self-Represented Litigants identifies potential methods for addressing this issue and recommends actions for the state court system.
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