10 Tips For A Pro-Se Litigant

By admin / May 7, 2007
By: Aaron Brooks
Category: Motivation

When you need to take legal recourse for any personal or business matter the only choice is not that of hiring an expensive lawyer. If you have determination, grit, knowledge, and the willingness to tackle matters yourself then you can represent yourself.

This self representation is called "Pro Se" which is Latin for "self."

In a court of law every citizen has the right to represent himself irrespective of whether he is the plaintiff or defendant. Pro-se is also known as propria persona or proper or litigant in person.

Although the law varies from state to state many courts permit pro-se litigations while others require the presences of a lawyer along with the pro-se representation. When a plaintiff or defendant chooses the pro-se route, he or she waives the right to a legal council throughout the case.

• To choose the "pro-se" route you must either have studied law or be familiar with the procedures.

• Very often the "pro-se" route is the only affordable one. However, even in this case you could choose to take the help of a legal coach, a lawyer who will ensure that you are addressing the case right.

• The key to a pro-se representation is knowledge. Use all the resources available both print as well as World Wide Web to prepare a strong case. Study case law and read published cases and decisions


• Think about using the assistance of a paralegal or a non specialty law firm for a small fee.

• Use the help available. Most often pro-se litigants can take filing assistance from the courthouse pro-se clerk. Find out whether the judge assigned to the case will offer advice.

• It is important to know how a court functions, the rules to be followed and decorum in a court house.

• Prepare the case with care and keep ready all evidence as well as information the case may need.

• Learn how legal research can be done efficiently. Use libraries that specialize in law and use the World Wide Web resources like http://www.law.cornell.edu/ and http://www.findlaw.com/. Build the case on a solid base and get all facts right. Be upfront and honest with facts remember falsities will always be exposed in the long run. When need be use the help of a law librarian. Also see the handout at: http://www.ilnd.uscourts.gov/CLERKS_OFFICE/prose01b.pdf

Make sure you know what documents need to be filed in court. Although details vary from court to court you will need to: ready the case according to the format prescribed by court rules, keep the court fees ready for payment, ensure that you have two sets of Xeroxes of all documents and fill in all the forms accurately and clearly. Most courts have detailed instructions for filing pro-se cases and very often the appropriate forms are available online.

To be a successful pro-se case filer you need to: keep your wits; not be frightened by legal terms or lawyers; appear calm and confident when appearing in court; make sure that the case you have constructed follows the law to a "t" ; and don't be intimidated by your opponent.

Pro-se cases are won if things are done right.

Aaron Brooks is a freelance writer for http://www.1866attorney.com , the premier website to find Attorney Directory including topics on civil right, litigation, defense, attorney power, legal services, prosecuting all crimes and much more. He also freelances for the premier REVENUE SHARING discussion forum for Legal Advice Site http://www.1888discuss.com/legal-advice/"

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