Nat'l Center for State Courts: 3/4 of civil cases have one unrepresented party

11/11/2015, Report, All Basic Human Needs

The National Center for State Courts has released data about how often one side, neither side, or both sides have a lawyer in civil cases.  The data, which is based on a representative sampling of 152 courts in 10 counties across the country examined in 2012-2013 (totaling over 900,000 cases) appears in the NCSC’s November 2015 Landscape of Civil Litigation of State Courts report.  The report found that "At least one party was self-represented (usually the defendant) in more than three-quarters of the cases."  AThe Lawyerist website astutely observed, “This isn’t a [justice] gap.  It’s a chasm."

NCCRC participant Richard Zorza has helpfully reformatted the data into some helpful charts in a post on his blog.  Importantly, he notes that the NCSC data does not include “domestic” cases (i.e., family law), which explains why the number of “neither side represented” cases is as low as it is.