Frequently Asked Questions

Review and click on questions to find answers to questions you may have regarding representing yourself in court.


Why has my case been reassigned to another judge?

What is a Report and Recommendation?

What is a Magistrate Judge and why has my case been referred to one?

I am hearing-disabled, will the Court provide an American Sign Language (ASL) signer for me?

I do not speak English, what do I do?

What do I do if I lose or have served the original summons?

Why can't the United States Marshal Service serve a John Doe defendant?

Who can serve my summons and complaint?

How long will it take to go to trial?

Why is my case "undergoing judicial review" and what does that mean?

How long does it take for a case to get a docket number?

What is a docket number?

What do I do if I can't afford the filing fee?

Will the judge accept faxes? Will the Pro Se Intake Unit?

Will my letters be filed and placed in the Court’s official file?

Will the judge answer my letter?

Can I speak to the judge about my case?

Can I file my papers electronically?

I don't have a computer or a typewriter, can I write my papers in long-hand?

How many copies of the complaint do I need?

How do I file a complaint?

My papers are due today, but I can't get to the courthouse until after 5:00pm, what can I do?

How long do I have to file my complaint (statute of limitations)?

Is the Southern District of New York the right federal court for my case (venue)?

Why can't the Pro Se Intake Unit tell me if my case belongs in federal court?

What kind of cases belong in federal court (subject matter jurisdiction)?

How do I bring criminal charges against someone?

How do I sue someone in federal court?

Why can't the Pro Se Intake Unit give legal advice?

My corporation has been sued, can I file papers in Court on behalf of the corporation?

Can I submit my papers to the federal Courthouse in White Plains?

Why do I have to submit my papers to the Pro Se Intake Unit?

Can I make an appointment to speak to someone in the Pro Se Intake Unit?

What does the Pro Se Intake Unit do?

What does it mean to appear pro se?