Representing yourself in court

General information

If you do not have a lawyer to represent you in a court case you are a "pro se litigant," or a "self-represented litigant." Some court cases, e.g., small claims, are straightforward and you may be able to get through the process without a lawyer representing you. Other cases, though, are more complex and might require motions, discovery, or other legal procedures to get through them successfully.

You are generally allowed to represent yourself in court if you so choose, except in some very limited circumstances. If you are acting as your own attorney you must follow the same laws, rules, and procedures as an attorney. If you do choose to represent yourself some judges may be more lenient with you, but others may hold you to the same standards as a lawyer during your court case. 

Free eBook about representing yourself in court

Represent Yourself in Court book cover

How to find the eBook about representing yourself in court

Log in to Nolo