Pro Bono News
Justice: Lack of Legal Representation Can Lead to Dire Consequences (NM)
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
- Albuquerque Journal
Justice: Lack of Legal Representation Can Lead to Dire Consequences
"ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s common knowledge that the criminally accused are guaranteed access to an attorney, but a New Mexico commission is launching a campaign to remind the public that people are often on their own when it comes to civil matters.
A growing number of people are representing themselves in high-stakes legal battles over things like child custody, eviction, predatory lending and access to benefits. According to the Administrative Office of the Courts, just more than half of new civil cases filed in district court in fiscal year 2018 involved at least one party without a lawyer – up from 36% in fiscal year 2011.
“Without any legal experience, New Mexicans find themselves in court, often outmaneuvered by the party who has a lawyer, not understanding the rules that govern the proceedings, including the important deadlines and not fully understanding their rights,” Supreme Court Justice Shannon Bacon said at a news conference Tuesday. “This all too frequently results in dire consequences.” ..."