Mark Andrews


Alaska courts have assisted unrepresented litigants in civil cases, explaining procedural technicalities to pro se litigants and applying more lenient standards to pro se pleadings. Although the origin of this policy is unclear, the Alaska Supreme Court in Breck v. Ulmer held that the trial court should advise pro se litigants of procedural requirements and hold pro se litigants to less stringent standards than attorneys. However, two recent cases, Greenway v. Heathcott and Wagner v. Wagner, have complicated Alaska's policy by adopting different approaches regarding when a court should advise a pro se litigant of procedural requirements. This Article proposes that, based on the State's recognition of a constitutional right to represent oneself, Alaska courts apply a due process analysis to judicial duties toward self-represented litigants to ensure that courts consistently recognize and protect pro se litigants' interests.

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