Access to Justice Research: Connecting Self-Representation to Civil Gideon

October 20, 2011 at 9:37 pm 2 comments

Do self-represented litigants fate better off than those who are represented. No, according to a 2010 article by Russel Engler (Connecting Self-Representation to Civil Gideon: What Existing Data Reveal About When Counsel is Most Needed, 37 Fordham Urban Law Journal). An extensive meta-analysis of emprirical studies of the outcomes achieved by pro-se litigants, Engler concludes that presence of a lawyer is an important factor when we analyse case outcomes. But there are other non-less important variables: substantive law, complexity of procedures, individual characteristics and practices of the judge, and the courts’ modus operandi.
Russel Engler also recognizes that a universal Civil Gideon (civil legal aid scheme) is not viable policy alternative. Therefore, the right to council is seen as a part of a broader Access to Justice strategy based on three points:
“(1) the expansion of the roles of the court system’s key players, such as judges, court-connected mediators and clerks, requiring them to assist unrepresented litigants as necessary to prevent forfeiture of important rights;
(2) the use of assistance programs, rigorously evaluated to identify which most effectively protect litigants from the forfeiture of rights; and
(3) the adoption of a civil right to counsel where the expansion of the roles of the key players and the assistance programs do not provide the necessary help to vulnerable litigants.”
Read Connecting Self-Representation to Civil Gideon: What Existing Data Reveal About When Counsel is Most Needed here.

Entry filed under: Research, Uncategorized, USA.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jason @ personal injury lawyer  |  October 24, 2011 at 2:44 am

    The only reasons I can see for self-representation are lack of funds and arrogance. Everyone is entitled to representation, as you say, but if you can’t afford it, then self-rep is the only way.

    And there are those who fancy themselves as Perry Mason. Not a good move!

    • 2. logan  |  November 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      a case in question . opposition to summary judgement.

      the defendant has been denied self representation by an objecting advocate.

      the summons is defective .
      can you comment


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