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Videos Provide Tips for People Representing Themselves in Court
(ANNAPOLIS – Nov. 6, 2013) The Maryland Judiciary has launched a series of videos to help people who represent themselves in court.
“The Judiciary is dedicated to providing fair, timely and equal access to justice for everyone here in Maryland,” said Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera. “These videos help us meet those goals by providing vital information to help people become more familiar with how courts operate and how they can help themselves in court cases.”
The first four videos in the series are now available to view on the Judiciary’s website. They include:
Tips for Your Day in Court
How should you present yourself and your case effectively when you come to court? This video includes general information and several key tips to keep in mind before your day in court. Website address: https://www.courts.state.md.us/video/selfhelp/tips-your-day-court
Service of Process
If you are the person who started a court case (the plaintiff), before your case can be heard, you must have the other person (the defendant or respondent) served with court papers. This video explains how to make sure the other person is properly “served.” Website address: https://www.courts.state.md.us/video/selfhelp/service-process
Defending a Small Claim
Are you being sued for $5,000 or less? This video explains your options if you are defending a small claims case in the District Court of Maryland. Website address: https://www.courts.state.md.us/video/selfhelp/defending-small-claim
Finding Legal Help
Do you need a lawyer, and you’re not sure where to start? This video covers how to get legal help in a civil (non-criminal) matter. There are a number of programs in Maryland that can provide legal help and, in some cases, may be able to provide legal representation in court. Website address: https://www.courts.state.md.us/video/selfhelp/finding-legal-help-civil-case
The videos were developed by the Maryland Access to Justice Commission, which works to improve and expand all people’s access to the state’s civil justice system.
“More and more often, people are representing themselves in court cases, particularly in civil cases where there is, generally, no constitutional right to legal representation,” said retired Court of Appeals Judge Irma S. Raker, who chairs the commission. “By helping people learn more about how courts and court cases work, including how to serve court papers, how to get ready for a court appearance, and how to find legal help, we are helping our judicial system work better for every Marylander.”
The Maryland Access to Justice Commission is a coalition of representatives from Maryland courts, executive branch agencies, legislators, attorneys, social services and faith groups, and legal service providers, which recommends changes to improve the ability of all Marylanders to use the courts effectively and to obtain legal help when they need it. It primarily focuses on expanding access to the state’s civil justice system, which includes landlord-tenant cases, divorce, child custody issues, small claims and debt collection, domestic violence, and other non-criminal matters.
“Courts can be confusing and daunting to people who are not familiar with how they operate,” said Maryland District Court Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn, who co-chairs the commission. “The videos offer concise, step-by-step guidelines and instructions. Videos are a wonderful option to learn information at your own pace, and can be viewed often, from almost anywhere, and at any time, night or day.”
A list of the videos is available on the Judiciary’s website: https://www.courts.state.md.us/reference/videolibrary.
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