Hastings Law Journal


Spencer G. Park


The recent growth in pro se litigation in the federal courts has prompted many questions as to how to respond to this trend. This study seeks to provide a statistical basis for answers to those questions. Based upon a sample drawn from pro se cases filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, this Note examines various aspects of pro se litigation including the types of claims filed by pro se litigants, whether or not pro se litigants request counsel, how pro se claims are disposed, and the relative burden of pro se cases upon the courts. Different subsamples within the general sample of pro se cases are also separately studied. Sub-samples include pro se civil rights claims, cases that reached settlement, cases that were appealed, and cases involving a government litigant. The results are presented in tables and charts along with the author's view of the implications of the data. Finally, suggestions for further study are discussed and presented to encourage continued examination of this growing phenomenon.

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