Pro SE legal representation




Pro se legal representation means standing on his own behalf before a court, rather than being represented by counsel. This can happen in a court proceeding, if it is the defendant or plaintiff, and the case is civil or criminal. Pro se is a Latin phrase meaning “for himself” or “on its own account”.

The right of a party to a lawsuit to represent the cause of his own has long been recognized in the United States, and even before the ratification of the Constitution.

Most states have a constitutional provision that expressly or by interpretation allows individuals to defend their own cases before the courts of that State. In many cases, constitutional provisions relating to the state the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances have been interpreted as such.

Also check the U.S. State List to allow self-representation in state courts.

Here are some of the limitation of self-representation

The ability of a party to proceed without counsel or defense in a civil action is largely a matter of state law, and may vary by jurisdiction and the positions of the parties. A rule of long standing and widely practiced prohibits corporations be represented by non-lawyers, compatible with the existence of a corporation as a “person” separate and distinct from its officers and employees.

A nonlawyer may not sign and file a notice of appeal on behalf of a corporation. Requiring a lawyer to represent a corporation in filing the notice does not violate the guarantee that any suitor may prosecute or defend a suit personally. A corporation is not a natural person and does not fall with in the term “any suitor.”

Similarly, a litigant Pro SE can act as a representative of the group as a class action. Therefore, a pro se litigant can not bring a class action. In addition, a relative non-lawyer may not appear Pro SE on behalf of a child, except to appeal the denial of social security benefits to the child such.

Another situation in which the appearance by a lawyer is often necessary in a case involving the executor or administrator of the personal property of the approval. Unless the executor or administrator is himself a lawyer, he is not allowed to represent themselves in matters other than approval.

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