DELAWARE CO-SPONSORS EASTERN REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR THE SELF-REPRESENTED
On May 10 through May 12, 2006, the Delaware Judiciary co-sponsored an Eastern Regional Conference on “Access to Justice for the Self-Represented: Court and Community-Based Strategies and Solutions” at the New York State Judicial Institute in White Plains, New York. Representatives from 21 states reaching as far as Alaska as well as from Canada attended.
As the number of self-represented litigants continues to increase, courts nationally are developing innovative programs through partnerships between the courts, the bar, and community groups to support and assist self-represented litigants. These programs provide various forms of assistance such as self-help centers, training programs for judges and court staff, informational web pages, and customer-friendly electronic filing. By providing a forum for sharing information on serving self-represented litigants, the conference sought to help jurisdictions learn from each others’ ideas and experiences.
The representatives from Delaware serving as workshop panelists were: Michael W. Arrington, Esquire, of Parkowski, Guerke, Swayze, P.A. and Chair of the Delaware State Bar Association Pro Se Litigation Assistance Committee; Jody J. Huber, Esquire, Family Court Director of Pro Se Services; Thomas V. McDonough, Esquire, of Delaware Volunteer Legal Services, Inc.; and Julie S. Pezzner, Esquire, Administrative Office of the Courts, Manager of Pro Se Services.
The conference resulted from plans developed through the National Summit on the Future of Self-Represented Litigation held in Chicago, Illinois in March 2005. In addition to the Delaware Judiciary, sponsors included the New York State Unified Court System, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, the Maryland Judiciary, the Legal Services Corporation, and the American Judicature Society.