What You Should Know Before You Represent Yourself
Although you have the right to represent yourself in court, you should not expect any special treatment, assistance or attention from the Court. You are expected to comply with the court rules--even if you are not familiar with them. Here are some ways the court staff can or cannot assist you.
Members of the court staff can:
- explain and answer questions about how the court works
- tell you what is required to have your case considered in court
- provide some information from your case file
- provide samples of available court forms
- provide guidance on how to complete forms
- answer questions about court deadlines
- provide the telephone number of a local lawyer referral service
Members of the court staff cannot:
- offer an opinion regarding the outcome of your case
- recommend a lawyer
- talk to the judge on your behalf regarding your case
- let you talk to the judge outside of court
- change a judge-issued order
- Your local legal aid society provides a lawyer referral service and will sometimes represent people who can’t afford a lawyer in a civil action.
- Parties have the right to represent themselves, but the law is complex, and this puts them at a disadvantage. Failure to follow the proper procedures or to inform the Court of relevant legal authority can result in a judgment against the party. For more information about self-representation, visit the Court Rules page.