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Representing Yourself (Pro Se)

This page provides information to people who do not have a lawyer and are representing themselves in civil cases in the U.S. District Court for District of Montana. 
You may file a civil action in federal court even if you do not have a lawyer to represent you. Representing yourself in court is called “proceeding pro se” and you are called a “pro se litigant."  This page contains information for pro se litigants who are incarcerated and those who are not incarcerated. This overview summarizes and links to sections with more information about representing yourself, how to ask the Court for a lawyer, blank and sample legal forms, procedural rules, Frequently Asked Questions and a glossary of common legal terms. 
Disclaimer: This page is not a substitute for legal advice from an experienced lawyer. The materials contained on this page are informational only. These materials are not legal advice and should not be considered as legal advice. Using information on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.  
Below is a brief explanation of what each section covers. Click the link below or in the column on the left-hand side to access the full section.  
    • Guide for Unrepresented Parties: The District of Montana has prepared a pdf document which details information on how to file and pursue a civil case without a lawyer in the federal District of Montana.
    • Overview of the Case Filing Process:  This section provides detailed information on how to file a case in the United States District Court for the District of Montana.
    • Filing After a Case Has Been Opened:  This section provides detailed information on how you can file documents in your case after it has been opened.
    • Court's Rules & Procedures:  This section links to important rules and procedures you must follow when filing a civil case in the District of Montana. 
    • Guidelines for Representing Yourself:  This section provides helpful information to consider when filing and litigating a civil action on your own behalf.
  • What the Clerk’s Office Can & Cannot Do:  This section explains what the Clerk's Office can and cannot help you with. The Clerk’s Office can provide you with procedural assistance. The Clerk’s Office cannot provide you with legal advice. This section explains what the Clerk’s Office can and cannot help you with.  
  • Requesting a Lawyer:  This section provides information about who has a legal right to be represented by a lawyer and how to ask for a lawyer to represent you in your civil case.  
    • Forms:  This section provides District Court forms for incarcerated and non-incarcerated pro se litigants. 
    • Specific Resources & Information for Incarcerated Persons:  This section provides information specific for people who are incarcerated and want to file a civil case without a lawyer.
    • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):  This section provides answers to common questions from incarcerated people who file civil cases without a lawyer.  The FAQ section is organized by question type.
    • Glossary of Legal Terms:  This section provides definitions of common legal terms, as well as common Latin legal terms so you can familiarize yourself with words you will see and hear frequently during litigation.
  • Bankruptcy Filers:  This section links to the United States Bankruptcy Court website for individuals filing for bankruptcy without attorney representation (pro se).