District of Columbia Courts

The Commission has a very active Courts Commitee, which works closely with the Chief and Presiding Judges and others to facilitate equal access to the courts. Recent projects include:

The Courts Committee continually works to identify new areas for reform. In 2011, the Commission researched best practices in other jurisdictions for assisting pro se litigants and produced an extensive memorandum detailing those innovations. As a result of that work, the Commission is examining the expansion of limited scope representation to other areas of the Court. It is also exploring the use of allocution-type interchanges between judges and pro se litigants so that judges have a mechanism to verify that a pro se litigant fully understands the terms and consequences of a settlement before the Court approves it.

In addition, the Courts Committee is working closely with legal services providers to address areas of unmet need. In collaboration with the D.C. Consortium of Legal Services Providers, it facilitated the formation of a Consumer Law Working Group that is examining practices in the Small Claims Branch and Debt Collection Calendar. The Commission is working to implement the recommendations of that working group.