(Un)Changing Rates of Pro Se Litigation in Federal Courts

Law & Social Inquiry, 2020, Forthcoming

UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2020-51

45 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2020

See all articles by Mark Gough

Mark Gough

Pennsylvania State University

Emily Taylor Poppe

University of California, Irvine School of Law

Date Written: July 8, 2020

Abstract

There is widespread concern among scholars, court actors, and policymakers that the number of pro se litigants is increasing. However, we have little empirical evidence of the scope of pro se litigation, especially in the federal court system. Using data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on all civil case filings since 1999, we investigate the prevalence and rate of pro se litigation in federal district courts. We find no evidence of a dramatic rise in pro se litigation, but document substantial variation in rates of pro se litigation by type of case and circuit of filing. The results have implications for our understanding of self-representation and for the development of policies addressing access to civil justice.

Suggested Citation

Gough, Mark and Taylor Poppe, Emily, (Un)Changing Rates of Pro Se Litigation in Federal Courts (July 8, 2020). Law & Social Inquiry, 2020, Forthcoming, UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2020-51, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3646524

Mark Gough

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

Emily Taylor Poppe (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Drive
Irvine, CA 92697
United States
9498242986 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
25
Abstract Views
140
PlumX Metrics