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July 12, 2010

Self Representation Hurting Individual Cases, Courts, Say Judges

ABA Releases New “View from the Bench” Study

In a survey released today by the _, judges indicated that a lack of representation in civil matters is hurting those individuals’ cases, and is negatively impacting courtrooms.

Approximately 1,000 state trial judges responded to the survey, which posed questions about their dockets, self-representation and the impact on the courts.  More than half of the judges stated that their dockets increased in 2009, with the most common areas of increase involving foreclosures, domestic relations, consumer issues such as debt, and non-foreclosure housing issues such as rental disputes.

Sixty percent of judges said that fewer parties are being represented by lawyers, with 62 percent saying that parties are negatively impacted by not being represented.  The impact is exemplified, through a failure to present necessary evidence (94 percent), procedural errors (89 percent), ineffective witness examination (85 percent), failure to properly object to evidence (81 percent) and ineffective argument (77 percent).

The ABA has a resource page on its website that can help individuals find legal assistance — www.findlegalhelp.org.

During a time when state budgets are constrained, agencies as well as courts are being asked to become more efficient.  However, the increase in non-represented parties makes this more difficult for courts.  The lack of representation has a negative impact on the court, said 78 percent of the judges, and 90 percent of judges stated that court procedures are slowed when parties are not represented.

Nearly half of the judges responding believe that there is a middle-class gap with respect to access to justice, stating that the number of people who are not represented and who do not qualify for aid has increased.

ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm announced the findings during a news conference earlier today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The survey of judges on the impact of the economic downturn on representation in the courts was conducted for the ABA Coalition for Justice.  Respondents came from around the country.

Comments (3)

  • *Pingback*
    5:01 AM July 26, 2010
    This Post Referenced in: Report Finds Consumers Without Attorneys Fare Worse | Stop Collector Blog

    ... _ recently released the results of a survey of state judges, which pointed to stark differences in ...

  • Anonymous
    1:14 AM December 26, 2010

    I hope this answers your question

    This economy has been in a Domino Effect since NAFTA and we are now in a depression, not recession. We will not rebound back to where we were in the 1960’s.

    Since there are no MIDDLE CLASS ANY LONGER AND BANKS HAVE NO TRANSPARENCY BUT THE FOOD STAMP OFFICE DOES HAVE TRANSPARANCEY ON POOR. If you are one penny over the state government FOOD STAMP guidelines YOU DO NOT QUALIFY. Does this make any sense? I am not a Harvard financial expert and this makes NO SENSE.

    NON-TRANSPARENCY CAUSED MULTI MILLIONS OF INNOCENT VICTIMS THAT BECAME SUB CRIME MORTAGES, DERITIVES, ENRON & MADOFF AND SO MUCH WHITE COLLAR CRIME “MEANING BUSINESS IN SUITS AND WHITE SHIRTS”.

    The financial institutions need the same transparancy REGULATIONS that the FOOD STAMP welfare offices have and NO ONE WOULD BE IN THIS CRISIS.

    I suggest the attorneys to market contingent fees, or they may end up in the food stamp transparancey line, that has doubled in the last year from 2009 to 2010 in the United States.

    When there is no middle class or jobs, attorneys will not be retained, these days ARE EXTINCT.

    Business use to depend on the middle class that is also EXTINCT.

    At this moment multi millions of people are “sitting out in the streets in the freezing cold,NO PHONE ,no hot water, bath,clean washed clothes, no food, or a warm bed or shelter OR MEDICAL AND HAVE NO HOPE OF EVER HAVING MONEY TO BUY THEIR BASIC NEEDS, THAT HAS NOW BECAME A LUXURY. THERE ARE MILLIONS OF EMPTY VACANT HOMES AND BUILDINGS AVAILABLE TO SHELTER THESE PEOPLE ?

    When US Citizens are no longer OFFERED work in the U.S. after all jobs were sent over seas for business to legally evade taxes set up by our own system. This CIRCUS created a tax system where THE MAJORITY IS NO LONGER PAYING INTO THE TAX SYSTEM.

    Most attorneys TODAY are accepting fees on contingent ON THE INTERNET FOR BUSINESS’S ONLY.

    I have not seen contingent with civil cases unless it is malpractice or some type of insurance that is being paid of 1/3 to the attorney and is gauranteed.

    The corporations are the ONLY ones that can afford attorneys because their fees are tax exempt so they can stay in court all day long at no out of pocket expense THAT ARE DEDUCTIBLE AT THE END OF THE YEAR.

    AN ETHICAL HONEST HARDWORKING ATTORNEY SHOULD ACCEPT CONTINGENT FEE CASES. THEY ARE SUPPOSE TO DO PRO-BONO WORK OF A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF TIME ANNUALLY. I NEVER SEEN THIS EITHER.

    HOPE THIS ANSWERS THIS QUESTION

  • Liam Marcus
    10:56 AM October 27, 2011

    Why oh why would anyone want to be represented by a BAR attorney? The judge is a BAR attorney, the prosecutor is a BAR attorney, the defendant’s attorney is a BAR member. There is no justice and there will never be any justice until the BAR association is barred from doing business in this country. We need to study law (common law) and repeal all private law. That is the answer to the problem.