, Press Release

Partnership Formed for Court Compass Project Workshop

The Court Compass project is exploring streamlined and simplified solutions that help people through the divorce and separation process.

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The North Carolina Judicial Branch and the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission (EATJC) are partnering with the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System  (IAALS) to bring a design sprint workshop to Raleigh on August 11, 2018. 

"IAALS is excited to include North Carolina courts and families in our work toward simplifying the divorce and separation process," stated IAALS representative Michael Houlberg. 

The IAALS Court Compass project is exploring streamlined and simplified solutions that help people through the divorce and separation process. While the project aims to make the process better for all litigants, there is a particular focus on people who go to court without an attorney. 

A substantial body of research and litigant stories confirm that getting through the legal system without legal help is challenging. In many courts, a majority of divorce and separation cases involve at least one self-represented litigant. Recognizing that a considerable percentage of people seeking a divorce are without an attorney, the Court Compass project is directly incorporating their feedback and insights as part of the process to design solutions that make navigating the courts simpler and easier.   

In partnership with experts from Stanford Law School’s Legal Design Lab, Northeastern School of Law’s NuLawLab, and the University of Maine School of Law, the Court Compass project is employing a number of human-centered design tools, including in-person design sprints and other focus groups to test new processes and solutions in real time and refine them based on user feedback. 

“This design sprint offers North Carolina the opportunity to build on existing self represented litigant resources such as the new Judicial Branch website,” said Jennifer Lechner, Executive Director of the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission. “We will continue to make meaningful access to justice our priority.”  

Through this partnership with IAALS, the North Carolina Judicial Branch hopes to identify barriers to court services that self-represented litigants face and to identify methods to overcome these barriers.