Procurement Opportunities | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts
Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice & Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts – Self-Represented Litigant Coordinators – Request for Proposal
Thousands of litigants appear in the Illinois civil courts without a lawyer every year. The growing number of self-represented litigants ("SRLs") in court is not unique to any one circuit, county, or case type, but can be seen in every courthouse in the state. However, the vast majority of SRLs do not choose to represent themselves. Most would prefer legal representation, but are unable to find or afford a lawyer. These SRLs—many who have little or no prior experience with the judicial system—pose a number of challenges for circuit clerks, judges, and other court staff. The litigants themselves also face many obstacles.
The goal of this project is to create, train, and support a statewide network of Self-Represented Litigant Coordinators ("Coordinators") based in courthouses throughout the state. Coordinators serve as a bridge, linking their courthouses with others throughout the state to share ideas, develop new resources, and establish programs for assisting SRLs. The project launched in late 2017 and so far thirteen different judicial circuits have participated in the Coordinator network, some circuits received grant funds and some only participate in the network. You can read more about the previous grantees in Illinois Courts Connect for November 2017 and November 2018. The SRL Coordinator grants are funded through the ATJ Commission and are facilitated by the Access to Justice Division of the AOIC.
The Coordinator network shares resources and best practices across county lines and judicial circuits to more effectively address the self-help service gaps seen throughout the state. Coordinators identify, develop, and implement new tools and resources in their local courthouses and work with other stakeholders to facilitate better communication and collaboration in addressing these issues. As Coordinators became aware of what their counterparts throughout the state have been doing, they have learned from each other's successes, shared resources and updates, and provided the best possible service for SRLs.