And Justice for All-Including the Unrepresented Poor: Revisiting the Roles of the Judges, Mediators and Clerks
84 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2005
In this article, the author argues that the proper roles not only should permit, but should require, those actors to provide extensive assistance to unrepresented litigants, particularly the unrepresented poor. The article first examines the traditional limits on the judges, mediators and clerks, showing that the limits effectively bar those actors from providing the assistance necessary to allow unrepresented litigants to participate meaningfully in court. Recognizing that the roles of the judges, mediators and clerks are interrelated, the article next identifies basic concepts that should inform the reshaping of the particular roles; it then proposes revisions to our traditional understanding of the proper roles of judges, mediators and clerks. The article ends with an examination of some of the current discussions of the problems facing unrepresented litigants in the contexts of family courts, bankruptcy courts and housing courts. The final section shows that the details of the roles must be tailored to particular contexts and that the discussions continue to ignore the need for a fundamental revision of the roles of the critical actors in the system.
Keywords: Legal Assistance to the Poor, Judges, Law Clerks, Arbitrators, Underrepresented Litigants
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