Representing Yourself in Federal Court (Pro Se)
Appearing Pro Se
The information on this site provides information to individuals who are representing themselves in the Southern District of New York without the assistance of an attorney. This website is intended as an informative and practical resource for these litigants and is not a substitute for legal advice from an experienced attorney. The information is procedural in nature and should be read in conjunction with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Local Rules of this Court and the Individual Practices of the judge assigned to your case.
When you are without an attorney, you are proceeding "pro se." If you represent yourself in Court, you are called a "pro se litigant" or a "self-represented litigant." "Pro se" is a Latin term, meaning "on one's own behalf"and a "litigant" is someone who is either suing someone or is being sued in court.
The right to appear pro se in a civil case in federal court is contained in a statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1654. Thus, anyone can appear pro se, and anyone who appears before the Court without an attorney is considered pro se. There are, however, certain limitations to self-representation, such as: