Civil Litigation Taskforce Considers Recommendations to Assist Self-Represented Litigants

Read the original article source of this excerpt.

Indiana Court Times on 11/4/2021 by Judge Kimberly S. Dowling | Delaware Circuit Court 2

In 2021, the Indiana Supreme Court created the Civil Litigation Taskforce as part of the Indiana Innovation Initiative. The Taskforce includes attorneys and judges from around the state and is chaired by attorney Steven Badger of Barnes and Thornburg. The Court directed the Taskforce to focus on improving civil litigation procedures and case management. Subcommittees of the Taskforce include Service of Process, Discovery, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Case Management, and Self-Represented Litigants.

The Taskforce has already met and worked with experts from the National Center for State Courts, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, Indiana judiciary and bar, and others to consider the best course of action for Indiana.

In 2017, the Coalition for Court Access partnered with Indiana University to conduct a statewide legal needs study. Their study found that, over a one-year period, approximately 1.2 million Hoosiers lived in households with family incomes 125% below the federal poverty line and 80% of those families experienced at least one legal problem during that year. Their most common legal problems included consumer and finance issues, employment, and family law matters. The study also found only one in four of those families sought an attorney for help.

In response to those findings, the self-represented litigants subcommittee is considering the following recommendations.