Court Gesture

More than half of all Californians who go to court each year represent themselves.

To help those 4.6 million litigants better prepare their cases, the state Judicial Council launched the California Courts Online Self-Help Center this week. The site, at http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp, offers more than 900 pages of free legal assistance and dozens of printable court forms necessary in divorce, traffic and small-claims cases.

It also features a step-by-step explanation of the California court system, including contact information for courthouses throughout the state.

Although the site does not offer legal advice, it provides links to several low-cost legal organizations and referral programs.

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