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Keep track of SRL cases

The State Court Guide to Statistical Reporting, v 2.1 provides instructions for counting cases with SRLs for the CSP's annual data collection.

Preview the NCSC Case-Level SRL Reporting Model for Civil and Domestic Relations Cases. 

 

Support from Court Leaders

The Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) passed a resolution supporting the counting and reporting of cases with self-represented litigants and cases with interpreters.  The full resolution can be read here.

Reports From Courts

To participate, send us a link to your report or a PDF via email.

 First Look: SRL Data

 MO SRL Analysis


Cases With Self-Represented Litigants (SRL)

New Definitions and Counting Rules For Cases with SRLs

The purpose of establishing a consistent approach to reporting cases with self-represented litigants (SRLs) is to allow comparative data to be produced within and among jurisdictions, facilitating the understanding of the nature and extent of self-representation in the state courts.

Following extensive consultation with state court constituents, case management system vendors, and subject matter experts, the NCSC recommends that state courts adopt the following definitions, counting rules, and reporting guidelines for cases involving self-represented litigants:

Definitions

Self-Represented Litigant: A person (party) who advocates on his or her own behalf before a court, rather than being represented by an attorney. These litigants are also known as pro se or pro per litigants.

Cases with Self-Represented Litigants: Legal cases in which one or more parties is self-represented.

Counting Rules

Unit of Count: The unit of count for cases with self-represented litigants is the legal case.  A case with self-represented litigants should be counted as a single case, whether the case has one, two, or more self-represented litigants.

Point of Count: A case should be counted at the point of disposition of the case (i.e., entry of judgment or reopened disposition).  State courts should count on a regular basis all disposed cases in which one or more parties was self-represented at any time during the life of the case.  For plaintiffs/petitioners, the life of the case runs from filing to disposition; for defendants/respondents, the life of the case runs from arraignment/answer to disposition.

Reporting Guidelines

Minimum National-Level Reporting Guideline (Snapshot at Disposition): On a regular basis, but at least annually, state courts should count, by case type, the number of cases with self-represented litigants disposed during the reporting period. The report is a count of all cases disposed in which the legal representation status of one or more parties, however designated in a case management system, was indicated as self-represented at the end of the reporting period.

Optimal National-Level Reporting Guideline (Look Back at Disposition): On a regular basis, but at least annually, state courts should count, by case type, the number of cases with self-represented litigants disposed during the reporting period. The report is a count of all cases disposed in which the legal representation status of one or more parties, however designated in a case management system, was indicated as self-represented at any time during the life of the case.

Event-Level Reporting Guideline: On a regular basis, but at least annually, state courts should count, by case type, the number of events, by event type, in which one or more parties is self-represented.  The report is a count of events, by case type and by event type, in which the legal representation status of one or more parties,however designated in a case management system, was indicated as self-represented.  Some systems may be able to supply additional detail for this report by distinguishing whether plaintiff/petitioner,defendant/respondent, or both are self-represented at the event.

This web page was developed under grant number SJI-12-P-084 from the State Justice Institute. The points of view expressed are those of the National Center for State Courts and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the State Justice Institute.