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Representing Yourself (Pro Se Litigant)

When you proceed in Court without the assistance of an attorney, you are proceeding pro se, which is Latin for "in one's own behalf."

Please understand that federal courts are best described as courts of limited jurisdiction. We only have such jurisdiction as the U.S. Congress sees fit to grant or is conveyed to us naturally by operation of the U.S. Constitution. So we hear cases involving violations of the Constitution, federal laws, bankruptcy cases, admiralty and maritime cases, as well as state law cases, but only if they involve a dispute valued at more than seventy-five thousand dollars and the parties on one side are citizens of a state or states different than the party or parties on the other side of the lawsuit. Consequently, many cases must be dismissed, or sent back to state courts, for lack of jurisdiction, since we can only handle those cases which we are legally entitled to consider.

Information provided here is intended to be informative and practical for pro se litigants and is not meant as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.