Central District of California - 2012 Pro Se Annual Report



Message from Maureen A. Tighe, United States Bankruptcy Judge, Central District of California
Chair, Pro Se Resources Committee

We are pleased to share the 2012 update of Access to Justice: Self-Represented Parties and the Court. This report follows up on the Court’s 2011 review of court services for self-represented or pro se individuals. As you will see, the report reflects the Court’s ongoing commitment to providing access to all parties, whether with or without counsel.

In 2012, while bankruptcy filings declined overall, the Court’s pro se rate remained high. This report provides interesting data comparing pro se cases to those filed with counsel and those filed using bankruptcy petition preparers, and summarizes how these different groups of debtors fared once they filed bankruptcy. It describes our progress on projects important to serving pro se litigants. Lastly, it details the work of the organizations and attorneys assisting these litigants.

Approximately 300 volunteers assisted the court last year, making access to justice a reality for over 9,000 people who could not afford counsel. We continue to be extremely thankful to the organizations and individuals who make these programs possible. Our extensive web of public-private partnerships continued to expand last year, providing free legal advice for even more litigants than in 2011. As we continue implementing mandatory cost cutting measures, the programs discussed in this report are vital in maintaining access to the Court for all.

Figure 1 U.S. Bankruptcy Court - Central District of California - 2011 vs. 2012 Pro Se Filing Comparison