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Assistance to Pro Se Litigants in U.S. District Courts: A Report on Surveys of Clerks of Court and Chief Judges

Donna J. Stienstra, Jared J. Bataillon, Jason A. Cantone
January 1, 2011
Available Online Only

This report is based on a study conducted by the Federal Judicial Center for the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management. The study sought information from district court clerks of court about programs, services, and materials their courts have developed to assist pro se litigants and to assist staff in handling pro se cases. The study also sought information from district court chief judges about the impact of pro se litigants on judges and chambers staff and what measures the judges have taken to meet the demands of these cases. This report presents the results of the study. Among the many findings reported are, for example, the number and identity of districts that have established pro bono, mediation, and e-filing programs, the measures clerks and chief judges have found most effective for handing prisoner and non-prisoner pro se cases, and the top issues these cases present for clerks' offices and judges.