Friday, January 2, 2009

Define: In Forma Pauperis

The word Pauper is Latin for Poor so in forma pauperis simply means filing in court in the form of a pauper or poor person. Simply put, if you are poor, you have the right to sue or defend yourself without prepayment of fees.poor man taken from microsoft office clip art

In order to proceed in Court without funds you must first file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. That motion must be accompanied by an attached affidavit or declaration stating that you lack the funds to pay for filing fees and/or other costs associated with the legal proceedings.

Federal Rules and laws governing In Forma Pauperis proceeding

Different rules and statutes have been adopted by different States and different Courts of Law in order to handle in forma pauperis proceedings.

If you are filing for a Writ of Certiori before the US Supreme Court for example, you are governed by Rule 39. When filing a Writ of Certiori for example you can use this guide for indigent petitioners filing writs of certiori. Keep in mind that you will be asked to provide all your financial information (including your spouses financial information) under oath.
The Balance of Justice
You can find the rules for proceeding in forma pauperis in an appeal, a habeas corpus petition or other appelate proceeding at the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure page from Cornell University.

Some lawyers even claim that a Corporation appearing before a Federal Court could be considered a Poor Person if it lacks the funds to proceed.

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