Building A Litigant Portal Business and Technical Requirements

By: Thomas M. Clarke, Ph.D.

November 2015

Many groups have devoted significant time and effort toward providing assistance of various kinds to litigants without representation. Numerous studies find a sizable unmet civil legal need.1 Organization-specific websites and portals publish a vast amount of information intended to help potential litigants overcome the barriers of cost and complexity. Yet, the need continues to outweigh the solutions by a significant margin.

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) published a path breaking report in 2013 outlining five strategies that could help jurisdictions narrow the gap.2 These five strategies include the creation of statewide legal portals, the provision of document assembly capabilities, access by mobile devices, use of business process analysis, and the application of expert systems and intelligent checklists. The report called for solutions that integrate these five strategies. The intent of this project is to do that and more.

At about the same time the State Justice Institute funded a project to identify case triage strategies for case types with high incidences of self-represented litigants (SRLs).3 That project recommended an approach to case triage that supports several kinds of decisions that must be made in cases with SRLs.