(Boston, Revised 11/13/10) New England Law | Boston: On October 30, Professor Engler traveled to the New Hampshire Supreme Court to provide an ethics training as part of New Hampshire's New Judge Orientation Program, for new Superior Court judges on the timely topic of judicial ethics where one or both parties is without counsel.
The session, "Ethics in Transition: Pro Se Litigants and the Changing Judicial Role," began with an examination of the traditional role of the judges, as evidenced by the Canons of Judicial Ethics and the cases addressing the proper judicial role. The training next provided evidence that the actual practice of some judges has varied far more than the texts of the decisions might reveal and that our understanding of, and attitudes toward, the role of the judge has changed considerably. Given the fluidity of the judicial role and the need for the courts to respond to the crisis they face with unrepresented litigants, the session ended with a discussion of why the active role is both necessary and permissible in certain contexts, and the price of failing to support such a shift.
Over the past three years, Professor Engler has provided similar trainings for groups of sitting judges in New York, the District of Columbia, and New Hampshire. The topic is one piece of Professor Engler's broader agenda involving unrepresented litigants, access to justice, and Civil Gideon, and reflects the ideas presented in his scholarship. For more information about Professor Engler's work in these areas, please click here.