General Information for Representing Yourself (Self-Represented Litigant - SRL)
If you wish to start a civil action in federal court, but do not have an attorney to represent you, you may bring your case on your own and proceed as a Self-Represented Litigant (SRL). A civil action is the only type of case you can start in federal court and is different from a criminal action which is started by government officials. You do not have the right to an attorney in a civil case and the Court only appoints attorneys in certain circumstances. Because you do not have the right to an attorney and may not be appointed one, you must be ready to pursue your case to completion.
The Self Help Tools contains information to help you if you decide to represent yourself. This section contains forms, frequently asked questions, and links to other internet sites. There is also information where you may be able to get legal help. The Court and its employees, however, cannot give you legal help or advice. If you proceed as a SRL, you will have to follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and this Court's Local Rules the same as any attorney who represents someone.
eFiling: At this time, the Court continues to permit SRLs to file cases by email to MOED_SRL_Filings@moed.uscourts.gov.
Use of Generative Artificial Intelligence (including ChatGPT, Harvey.AI, and Google Bard): No portion of any pleading, written motion, or other paper may be drafted by any form of generative artificial intelligence. By presenting to the Court (whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating) a pleading, written motion, or other paper, self-represented parties and attorneys acknowledge they will be held responsible for its contents. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b).
Self Help Tools (descriptions of the information contained in this section are provided below):
Frequently Asked Questions and Helpful Legal Terms for filing a complaint on your own behalf contains common questions asked by people who represent themselves. It is a good place to start if you are thinking about bringing a case. Helpful Legal Terms outlines the meanings of legal words you will hear used by the Clerk’s Office and Court.
Forms - in the left-hand margin of this Self-Represented Litigants (SRL) page, there are several different categories of civil cases that are frequently filed in this Court. If you click on the category of the case you wish to file, there are many forms and instructions for filing the case on your own. You should look at these forms before you file your case as there may be forms and instructions you can use.
Links - this section contains links to other internet web sites that could be helpful to you. Included in this section are links to sites where you can find information about attorneys, legal aid organizations, federal and local rules, federal courts, outside agencies, pro se sites, and legal research.
Disclaimer -Self Help Tools is not intended to take the place of an attorney's legal advice. It also may not contain information that addresses your particular case or problem.