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In Law, What Is Pro Se?


There are instances when a person involved in litigation may wish to represent himself or herself in a court of law. When this is done, the litigant is said to have done pro se litigation. Pro se is a Latin term that refers to “for oneself”, meaning the person represents himself or herself in court rather than hire a lawyer to do so. This type of legal representation is also referred to as pro per, but both Latin phrases are used to describe a litigant who wishes to represent one’s self at a court trial.


Usually, a litigant will hire or be appointed an attorney to represent him or her in the course of a court case. However, there are certain instances when an individual may wish not to have a legal counsel to represent him or her, and elect to do so himself or herself. But there are limitations on who and what can use pro se representation. An individual, whether or not this individual is an attorney, can do so in certain situations, but corporations or companies must have legal counsel to represent them and their interests.


When a litigant decides to do pro se, the litigant files legal documents that have been signed by him or her as pro se instead of an attorney representing the plaintiff or defendant. Once a litigant has filed for pro se, he or she no longer has the right to be represented by any type of legal counsel during the entire course of litigation.

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