University of Tokyo

Survey Number 0874
Survey Title Survey on Personal Lawsuits, 2011
Depositor Legal Training and Research Institute
Restriction of Use For detailed information, please refer to 'For Data Users' at SSJDA website.

- Apply to SSJDA. SSJDA's approval required.
Educational Purpose Only available for research.
Period of Data Use Permission One year
Access to Datasets Download
Nesstar Not available
Summary This survey was carried out with the aim of objectively and empirically understanding the actual status of so-called pro se representation. When it comes to pro se representation, there is a strong tendency for judges to offer personal, episodic, and impressionistic stories of cases. It has been pointed out that this tendency has obstructed our ability to accurately understand the actual status of these cases. Additionally, arguments based on anecdotal accounts can be problematic when they involve points unrelated to each other. For example, one argument might be given from the perspective of the burden of pro se representation, while another might be told in connection to the stewardship function of the court itself.

For this survey, our aim is to objectively understand the actual status of pro se representation; we have therefore centered our survey around objective questions that are about matters less influenced by impressions and emotions. However, we have made allowances for a small number of question items that poll the impressions and subjective evaluations of judges. Additionally, for this survey, we first finalized the selection conditions (refer to "survey targets") for target cases—cases in which the court's involvement as a steward or guardian became necessary, cases which caused the court to feel a certain burden during the trial, as well as cases which enable us to get a better understanding of the trial process itself—before carrying out the survey.
Data Type quantitative research
quantitative research: micro data
Universe [District courts]
Target judges: all judges in charge of independent civil cases in district courts nationwide (headquarters and branches)
Target cases: In accordance with our objective of analyzing pro se representation on substantive disputes, we selected only those cases which fulfilled requirements (a) through (d) below.
(a) Cases with more than 3 oral argument days (excluding verdict delivery days) or cases where argument preparation procedures were carried out at least once.
(b) Cases where at least one side used pro se representation.
(c) Independent civil cases from district courts, excluding cases involving claims of refunds following overpayment, claims requesting eviction from public housing (including the Urban Renaissance Agency), and claims of refund of scholarship money.
(d) Cases that ended between January 20 and 31, 2011.

[High courts]
Target judges: All sitting judges in charge of civil appeal cases in high courts nationwide (headquarters and branches).
Target cases: Cases that ended between January 20-31, 2011, and those that met the original case requirements (a), (b), and (c) above.

* Furthermore, with regard to our data items for both district and high courts, and in accordance with our previously given definition of "target cases," we did not take as target cases those which involved pro se representation but did not involve argument preparation procedures or were concluded within 1-2 days (such as those that did not involve substantive disputes).
Unit of Observation Individual,Other
Sample Size [District courts]285 cases (However, 288 cases have been provided)
[High courts] 47 cases
Date of Collection 2011-01-20 ~ 2011-01-31
[District courts]2011/01/20 – 01/31
[High courts] 2011/01/20 – 01/31
*Refer to "Survey Targets."
Time Period 2011 ~ 2011
Spatial Unit Japan
Sampling Procedure Non-probability: Purposive
Refer to "Survey Targets."
Mode of Data Collection
DOI 10.34500/SSJDA.0874
Sponsors (Funds)
Related Publications (by the Investigator) Please refer to the abstract in Japanese.
Related Publications (based on Secondary Analysis) List of related publications (based on Secondary Analysis)
Documentation [Questionnaire]
Major Survey Items *Below, we have separately listed our surveys for [District Courts] and [High Courts].

[District courts]
(1) General questions: Selection of issue preparation procedures in pro se representation, guidelines/trends in requests for clarification in cases where both sides appoint a lawyer, approach and methods of explaining procedures to the concerned parties themselves, judge case load of pro se cases compared with dual appointment cases, etc.

(2) Clerks: Clerk case load of pro se cases compared with dual appointment cases, etc.

(3) Case sheet information: Presence/absence of appointed legal representation for the plaintiff and defense, case category, amount in dispute, presence/absence of witness testimony and examination, ultimate classification, time of receipt and conclusion, the number of oral argument days including witness testimony and examination, and excluding verdict delivery dates, presence/absence, and number of days for argument preparation proceedings, presence or absence of appeal, etc.

(4) Clerk case load: Comparative case load of clerk in answer cases

(5) Officially recorded attributes of the concerned parties: Attributes of the plaintiff and the defendant/number of times they made use of litigation/legal advice and consultation before trial, or while pending/presence, or absence of notification of scrivener as delivery recipient, relationship between plaintiff and defendant, etc.

(6) Submission of complaint, answer letter, brief, and documents submission: Inadequacy of complaint before its delivery, status of the compliance of the plaintiff with the measures set by the court, presence/absence of submission of documents, etc., by the plaintiff and defendant, inadequacies in legal briefs, written evidence, description of evidence, or answer letter, etc., submitted by either the plaintiff or defendant

(7) Proceedings to arrange issues (excluding those for witness testimony and examination and settlement): Presence/absence of experiences in which days for arranging issues took longer than for normal cases and the reasons thereof, explanations and methods thereof for the system or proceedings, presence/absence of measures normally untaken in the arrangement of claims and evidence, circumstances of issue arrangement by the plaintiff and defendant, impression of cases in which only one side appointed a legal representative, effort required to move forward with issue arrangement proceedings compared to cases in which both sides appointed legal representation, etc.

(8) Witness testimony and examination stage: Presence/absence of request for witness testimony from the concerned parties, conducting of examination of witness testimony, presence or absence of measures normally not taken during examination of witness testimony, status of witness testimony, the extent to which witness testimony procedures went by smoothly compared to dual representation cases, etc.

(9) Settlement stage: presence/absence of settlement consultation, plaintiff's attitude to plaintiff-type settlement consultation, defendant's attitude to defendant-type settlement consultation, attitudes toward dual-type settlement consultation, conviction disclosures and their extent if a settlement consultation took place, reasons for not opting for a settlement consultation, whether or not the case was one in which appointed representatives recommended settlement as a matter of course

(10) Decision, withdrawal phase: Ease of drafting a decision compared to dual appointment cases, process/reasons for action withdrawal, etc.

(11) Relationship of pro se representation to progress/trends of pro se representation cases: Recommendation of legal representation to plaintiff/defendant and reasons thereof, plaintiff/defendant's reasons for pro se representation, reasons for suggesting or recommending appointment of legal representative, presence or absence of answers on this questionnaire about other cases, number of other such cases, etc.

[High courts]
(1) Case type/amount in dispute, etc.: Case type, amount in dispute at first trial, etc.

(2) Conclusion status of first trial/appeal: Conclusion status of first trial, status of appeal or incidental appeal of first decision (appeal by initial plaintiff or defendant), conclusion status of appeal trial (decision, overturning of initial decision/changing of its nature, content of settlement), etc.

(3) Appointment status of legal representation: Appointment status of legal representation in either the original trial or appeal trial, etc.

(4) Trial status in appeal trial: Status of determination of trial days for appeal trial (whether or not days for substantial issue arrangement were set aside once again during the appeal trial, trial conclusion after first oral arguments), presence/absence of concerned party (initial plaintiff/initial defendant) claim in appeal trial, presence/absence of submission of new documents not submitted during original trial (initial plaintiff/initial defendant), presence/absence of witness cross-examination at the request of the initial plaintiff (initial plaintiff/initial defendant), presence/absence of cross-examination by authority during the appeal trial, etc.

*For details on survey items, please refer to the questionnaire.
Date of Release 2013/11/27
Topics in CESSDA Click here for details

Legislation and legal systems
Topics in SSJDA Law
Version 1 : 2013-11-27
Notes for Users [District Courts] Because the number of cases in the report book (285) and in the provided data (288) is different, the figures for simple totals will not match.

*The following data have not been made public.
[District courts]Question 11,Question 12,Question 17 Acceptance [Date], Question 74,Question 75,Question 76 Case number
[High Courts]Question 1,Question 2
Variable and value labels are written in Japanese.