Tips for Self Represented Litigants
How do I get help at the courthouse?
Court staff are there to help you with information about the process of your case through the courts and can answer questions about procedures and court processes. Court staff can tell you what forms are used for a particular type of case but can't tell you what forms to use and how to fill them out. They can't tell you what information you should provide in your documents, explain your legal rights, fill out forms for you or predict the outcome of your case. They must remain impartial.
Here is a list of some things court staff can and can't do for you. Please read it carefully before asking court staff for help:
Court staff can provide legal information. They cannot provide legal advice. Consult a lawyer for legal advice.
Court Staff can provide:
- your court file (in most cases)
- general information about how the court works, court rules and procedures
- court forms (forms are not available for all legal proceedings)
- information about how to fill out court forms
- court schedules and information on how to get matters scheduled
- information about court fees
- guidance on how to calculate deadlines and due dates
- the court file on a specific case (unless it is confidential) for you to review
- a commissioner for oaths. Bring picture identification and don't sign the document beforehand. There is a fee for this service.
- Information about programs offered at the court
Court Staff CANNOT:
- provide an opinion on whether or not you should bring your case to court or take a particular course of action
- fill out court forms for you or tell you what words to put in a form
- speculate about what decision a judge might make or what sentence a judge might impose
- give you advice on what to say in court
- talk to a judge for you or let you talk to a judge outside the courtroom
- take sides in any case - they must remain impartial
- give information when they are unsure of the correct answer
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