American Judges Association



Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 51, Issue 2 (2015)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


We are pleased to bring you a collection of articles and issues related to the growing presence of self-represented litigants in our courts. Our lead article is from two trial judges in Maryland, Dorothy Wilson and Miriam Hutchins. They deal with self-represented litigants daily in Baltimore and bring nearly 30 years of combined experience to the task of telling you what works best. They review the concept of neutral engagement, in which judges remain neutral but help to make sure cases are fully presented; discuss the ethics rules that apply to what the judge can and should do; and go step by step through how to handle a case involving a self-represented litigant on one or both sides.

Our second article looks at helping self-represented litigants outside the judge’s presence through a courthouse help center. Keven O’Grady, a trial judge in Kansas, takes you sequentially through the work his court did in the past two years in setting up a help center in their courthouse.