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 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. If you are acting as your own attorney you must follow the same laws, rules, and procedures as an attorney.
- Preparing for Your Day in Court handbook from the King County Bar Association
- Self-Represented Persons in Superior Court Civil Proceedings from the Administrative Office of the Courts
- Self-Represented Persons in District Court Civil Proceedings from the Administrative Office of the Courts
- Self-Represented Persons in Municipal Court Civil Proceedings from the Administrative Office of the Courts
- File a civil action in federal court without an attorney from the United States District Court - Western District of Washington
Free eBook about representing yourself in court