The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Court (AOIC) are looking to improve the resources and programs available for self-represented litigants (SLRs). As such, the organizations are hoping to expand the number of statewide circuits participating in the self-represented litigant coordinator network.
The organizations have issued a request for proposals from all Illinois judicial circuits to support new SRL coordinators. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.
Outside of Cook County, roughly 65% of civil cases have one SRL. This lack of legal representation creates many challenges for circuit courts, judges and other court staff. It also represents a significant access to justice problem.
The ATJ Commission and AOIC believe that a network of trained SRL coordinators in courthouses throughout the state will help address some of the gaps in legal services. Since launching the program in December 2017, 13 judicial circuits have participated in the self-represented litigant coordinator network and over 40,000 SRLs have been helped.
SLR coordinators are charged with “identifying, developing, and implementing new tools and resources in their local courthouses.” These resources and best practices are then disseminated through the coordinator network for use across the state. A limited number of monetary grants are awarded to judicial circuits to support the coordinators’ work. Those not chosen for grants may still participate in the SRL coordinator program.
To be considered for a self-represented litigant coordinator position, applicants must:
- Be a staff person from the chief judge or presiding judge’s office
- Have knowledge of the challenges faced by SLRs
- Be familiar with court operations and the legal community
- Be able to attend in-person training twice a year
Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts
222 N. LaSalle Street, 13th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
The committee anticipates that the grant recipients will be announced in early November 2019. Questions should also be directed to Roberts via email or by calling (312) 739-2305.
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