Principles on the Support for Pro Se Litigants in the Context of Digitization of Civil Court Proceedings
September 12, 2019
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
- As the government is moving to introduce digitization to the civil court proceedings in district courts, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) will provide support in the use of information technology (IT) for pro se litigants who have difficulty utilizing IT in pro se litigation, to ensure that their right of access to the courts will be guaranteed and any necessary legal services will be provided.
- The JFBA will tune the specifics of our support to the scope of the IT aid scheme introduced by public bodies such as courts and the Japan Legal Support Center (“Houterasu”), and elaborate on the details, including human and physical arrangements, taking into account the situation in each respective bar association, by the time the state digitization program is implemented.
- Since the planned digitization of the civil court proceedings aims to institute a de novo judicial system, it is indisputable that, if the initiative jeopardizes the right of access to the courts, the state should accept responsibility and remove the hindrance. Therefore, while the JFBA will provide support in the IT context in pro se litigation in district courts on the basis of our mission to protect civil rights, we urge the government to establish an adequate and comprehensive support system and provide assistance to pro se litigants. We will also collaborate and communicate closely with relevant organizations including the Supreme Court of Japan, the Ministry of Justice, and Houterasu.