New Guide Outlines Steps for Representing Self in the Court of Special Appeals
(ANNAPOLIS, Md. – July 24, 2012) Maryland Court of Special Appeals Chief Judge Peter B. Krauser today announced the publication of “A Guide for Self-Representation” to help non-lawyers file and proceed with an appeal in the Court of Special Appeals. The guide includes: a detailed outline of the steps in the appeals process; a checklist of those steps; explanations of terms and actions; and samples of forms and notices.
This is the first time the Maryland Judiciary has issued a guide for people representing themselves, also known as pro se litigants, in the appellate process. Such litigants are appearing in increasing numbers in all levels of courts throughout the U.S. At least eight other state appeals courts have guides for pro se litigants, as do several federal appeals courts and the Supreme Court of the United States.
“There’s been a significant increase during my tenure as chief judge, and today more than one in four cases in the Court of Special Appeals involves at least one pro se litigant,” Judge Krauser said. Each year, approximately 2,000 appeals are filed in the Court of Special Appeals.
“This guide provides some fundamental information that people need to know if they are appealing a decision from a circuit court or orphans’ court.” For example, the guide gives a definition of what a brief is, lists what a brief needs to include from beginning to end, and provides an explanation of each part of the brief, from cover page and statement of facts through argument, conclusion and appendix.
“It’s very important to note that this guide outlines the steps involved in the appellate process but it does not and cannot provide legal advice,” Judge Krauser said. “It is designed to help people know what forms to fill out, but it cannot give any advice about how to argue their appeal.”
The guide is available online through the Maryland Judiciary’s website, www.mdcourts.gov. The direct link is http://www.mdcourts.gov/cosappeals/pdfs/cosaguideselfrepresentation.pdf. Printed copies are also available in Circuit Court Clerk’s Offices throughout the state.