Welcome From the Chief Judge

Welcome to the Center for Self-Representation. The Center has grown out of our concern that courts seem too complicated, even in simple cases, for people to use without a lawyer’s help, when they need to represent themselves. At the same time, the number of people who use our courts without a lawyer multiplies every year. There is no substitute for competent legal counsel but the right to represent oneself is an important one, preserved by the Constitution. The judges and staff of the Circuit Court are committed to making our courts more user friendly, to make equal access to justice a reality, not just a slogan. This new Center for Self-Representation is designed to take advantage of the latest web-based technology to help people navigate through the court system when they need to represent themselves, especially in types of cases in which many people are not represented by a lawyer.

In developing the Center, we have worked with the Lake County Circuit Clerk, the Honorable Keith Brin, Prairie State Legal Services and the Illinois Technology Center for Law and the Public Interest, with funding support from the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation. We have focused our first effort on small claims cases, but will be expanding into other areas over the coming year.

You will find much helpful information on this Website, including a basic “How to” guide, court forms you will need, checklists, and tips on how to prepare your case. You will also find links to other helpful resources. We appreciate your interest, and want you to know you can help us make the Center’s materials even more useful by giving us your feedback.
 
 Jorge L. Ortiz
Chief Judge