An old proverb goes something like this: He who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.

But what's a fool to do these days?

With the economy in the shape it's in, even people who understand the wisdom of professional representation might not be able to afford it.

It's their right to represent themselves in court, even if the outcome ends up looking like a lot of do-it-yourself projects -- disastrous.

But self-represented litigants aren't the only ones who have to deal with the headaches caused by their choice.

Their ignorance can slow down the whole court system. The result is other cases are delayed -- even those in which the litigants hired lawyers.

Knowing all this, the York County Commissioners Wednesday made what we consider to be a wise, forwarding-thinking decision.

The board approved a request to transform an underused section of the Judicial Center into a Self-Represented Litigant Center.

There, self-represented litigants can get a better understanding of the legal process, such as what specifically they need to address in court, what documents they need and how to file them and any fees they may need to pay.

It will also offer interactive software -- the first of its kind to be used in Pennsylvania -- that will walk litigants through a series of questions about their cases and provide information along the way.


"What they need will be all laid out for them," President Judge Stephen Linebaugh said.

The result will be more efficient proceedings, better prepared litigants and a shorter time in court, he said.

The new center is expected to open in October once the renovations are complete.

The under-used space that's being converted had been designated as a press room, although reporters will be offered another room once the center is up and running.

Ah, well.

Given the benefits of this new program, we have no objection, your honor.