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In Law, What Is a Pro Per?

Propria Persona is a Latin phrase that translates to for one’s self, but is abbreviated to Pro Per. This Latin phrase can also reference another Latin phrase, Pro Se, which similarly translates to for oneself. 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 per 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 per, the litigant files legal documents that have been signed by him or her as pro per instead of an attorney representing the plaintiff or defendant. Once a litigant has filed for pro per, he or she no longer has the right to be represented by any type of legal counsel.
There are many reasons as to why an individual would seek to undergo a court case pro per. One of the most common reasons is the financial burden of having legal counsel representation. An individual cannot always afford attorneys or the attorney appointed is considered by the individual as unfit.

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