Courts and People without Lawyers

The CBF works with the courts, the legal community, and pro bono and legal aid organizations to ensure that the courts are user-friendly, accessible and fair for people without lawyers.

In recent years, the number of people coming to court without lawyers has skyrocketed here and across the country, creating challenges and problems for the litigants as well as judges, court personnel and opposing counsel. This trend in large part is driven by the limited availability of free and affordable legal assistance. Navigating a legal system that historically has been designed for lawyers can be confusing and overwhelming, and it is challenging for many people to present their own cases in court.

The CBF works with the state and federal courts and our other partners to create and connect a continuum of assistance for people without lawyers to help them understand their legal issue, connect with available resources, address their legal problem, and understand and navigate a complex legal system.

CBF’s current and ongoing work in making the courts more user-friendly, accessible, and fair for everyone includes:

Network of Advice Desks

Developing and Connecting Court-Based Resources

Developing Court-Based Legal Aid and Pro Bono Programs in Areas of Need

Services Making the System More Welcoming and User-Friendly

Policy Issues

Web-Based Resources for People without Lawyers


For more information or to get involved with the CBF’s work on these issues, contact Samira Nazem at or (312) 554-8356.