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National Assessment on Remote Services Delivery to Self-Represented Litigants

The Self-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN) and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) are assessing the development of programs to provide services to self-represented litigants through remote technology (SJI-14-P-081). This project currently involves five participating court systems (CA, UT, AL, MD, and MN), and one large trial court in California (Orange County). The project will consist of two phases: An assessment of five states that have state or local court-sponsored remote/virtual service delivery processes for assisting self-represented litigants, in addition to three programs from other access to justice entities, such as legal service organizations. This phase will observe and gather cost/benefit information on these existing programs and produce a resource handbook describing their business models, technology infrastructures, and strengths/weaknesses. The resource handbook will be helpful to other states seeking to develop these types of programs.

The development of a full service pilot “triage portal” will serve as a single point of entry to legal information and services for self-represented litigants. The portal will help individuals assess their legal issues and needs, directing them to the most appropriate service for their case using established triage protocols. The protocols were developed under a previous SJI grant (SJI-12-P-085). The pilot portal will be conducted in one of the jurisdictions involved in the study of current remote services delivery programs, and will incorporate the best practices identified in that study.