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Update on Strategic Initiatives Grants Addressing Self-Represented Litigation and the State Courts

In FY 2012, SJI awarded 6 Strategic Initiatives Grants (SIGs) totaling $275,158 addressing one of SJI’s Priority Investment Areas: Self-Represented Litigation and the State Courts. SIG grants were made to the: 1) Judicial Council of California to train bilingual JusticeCorps volunteers to provide enhanced services for self-represented litigants (SRLs); 2)Indiana Administrative Office of the Courts to train volunteer college and law students to serve statewide pro se clinic clients; 3) the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to develop a standard set of definitions and counting rules for cases involving one or more SRLs; 4) the Self-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN) and the NCSC to develop formal case triage protocols for assistance to SRLs; 5) the SRLN to facilitate state court reimbursement under Title IV-D, and promote awareness of this resource; and 6) the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission for delivery of legal information to SRLs in underserved areas of South Carolina.

The Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has, through its Court Interpreter Program, made significant strides towards developing and implementing a statewide training program that will allow 40 bilingual Justice Corps members to learn how to direct SRLs to self-help resources . In addition to an in-person training curriculum being finalized, the AOC will deploy an online training module this month.

The NCSC and SRLN continue to assist the state courts in updating court websites and downloadable materials that can be easily accessed by SRLs. The NCSC is also developing a set of standardized definitions and counting rules for pro se cases. This report and accompanying resources is expected to be available in early January 2014.

SJI will continue to provide updates on these projects.