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19th Judicial Circuit Court ofLake County, Illinois
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      Center for Self Representation

19th Judicial Circuit > Center for Self Representation

Welcome to the Lake County 
Center for Self-Representation Website

This Center for Self-Representation (CSR) website offers information and public resources, with a special focus on people representing themselves in court (pro se litigants). 
This site does not provide legal advice.

Welcome to the CSR from the Chief Judge

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Topics available: (Click the topic below to start)

Court Forms & Other Topics 

Domestic Abuse

Guardianship of Minors 

Web Links

 Family Court *

Tenant *


Name Changes for Adults & Minors 

Probate Court

Simplified Divorce

Small Claims 

Traffic Court

 NOTE:  At this time, resources and assistance are available ONLY in Mortage Foreclosure, Small Claims Court, Domestic Abuse, Probate Court, Name Changes and Guardianship of Minors matters only.
* -
An expanded Simplified Divorce, Family Court, Landlord/Tenant and Traffic Court are being considered for future topics in this project.
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Services Include: 
  • Procedural Information - such as self-guided interviews, checklists, frequently asked questions, a glossary of law terms, and general tips on self-representation.
  • Legal Assistance - including links to our Center for Self-Representation and Legal Research and Reference Links.
  • Forms and Instructions - specifically written for those who choose to represent themselves in their own court matters.
  • Community Resources - including a directory of community agencies and information on agencies that offer alternatives to court action, such as arbitration or mediation.

Helpful Information for Pro Se (Self-Representation) Litigants

Directions to the Lake County Center for Self-Representation

 Click here for the Center for Self-Representation Brochure

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Welcome Message from the Chief Judge

     Welcome to the Center for Self-Representation.   The Center has grown out of our concern that courts seem too complicated, even in simple cases, for people to use without a lawyer’s help, when they need to represent themselves.  At the same time, the number of people who use our courts without a lawyer multiplies every year.   There is no substitute for competent legal counsel but the right to represent oneself is an important one, preserved by the Constitution.  The judges and staff of the Circuit Court are committed to making our courts more user friendly, to make equal access to justice a reality, not just a slogan. This new Center for Self-Representation is designed to take advantage of the latest web-based technology to help people navigate through the court system when they need to represent themselves, especially in types of cases in which many people are not represented by a lawyer.

     In developing the Center, we have worked with the Lake County Circuit Clerk, the Hon. Keith Brin, Prairie State Legal Services and the Illinois Technology Center for Law and the Public Interest, with funding support from the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation.  We have focused our first effort on small claims cases, but will be expanding into other areas over the coming year.

     You will find much helpful information on this Website, including a basic “How to” guide, court forms you will need, checklists, and tips on how to prepare your case.  You will also find links to other helpful resources.  We appreciate your interest, and want you to know you can help us make the Center’s materials even more useful by giving us your feedback.

Jorge L. Ortiz
Chief Judge

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