The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Policy Research Shop Testimony: June 7, 2010

PRS students Allyson Bennet '10 and Anya Perret '11 discuss their research findings with Laura Kiernan and Brian Eddy from the NH Judicial Branch

Article Type 

Self Representation in NH Courts Testimony

On June 7th, PRS students Allyson Bennett ’10 and Anya Perret ’11 met with personnel from the New Hampshire State Court system to present their findings regarding the resources that the system provides to the large fraction of litigants who choose to represent themselves in civil cases. Specifically, the students shared the results of an extensive experiment they conducted in which participants helped evaluate the Judicial Branch’s brand new website. The unique and original data the team collected show how well a user can find the important information which will help him/her navigate the legal system and how well the new New Hampshire site compares with Maricopa County, Arizona’s.

The latter is considered a model system and website. The students were also able to identify where users were getting stuck and how they were using the sites. This allowed them to make specific recommendations that will allow the state to improve the web resources it makes available to litigants representing themselves in divorce, custody, and small claims cases for example. Their findings are reflected in the Policy Research Shop brief, “Self Representation in the New Hampshire State Courts: Current Strategies, Future Solutions, and an Experimental Investigation of Online Resources."

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences