This review examines the rising challenge of self-represented litigants in America's courts. It begins with a history of the right to represent oneself and the right to counsel and then considers the dearth of empirical information about those who proceed on their own—in other words, pro se. The article examines the shortcomings of the available data about how pro se litigants are treated as compared with those represented by counsel. It then considers the importance of how the unrepresented feel about their experience—most particularly regarding their opportunity for “voice.” The article then explores judicial attitudes about pro se litigants, arguing that judges may be resistant to reforms to help these parties because such reforms raise fears about judicial neutrality and fair resolution of the merits. The review concludes by briefly considering the cost of not addressing the pro se challenge.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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