Tips on Representing Yourself in Court
The Court is a very traditional and polite place. When you are representing yourself in Court
you are trying to persuade a judge or a jury that you are right. So you must act, dress, and speak
in a way that helps you with your case.
- When you come to Court, dress as professionally as possible. This means clothes that are neat
and clean. You should be clean and neatly groomed.
- How you act is very important. You must be respectful to everyone in Court. This includes the
judge, Court staff, the other party involved in your case, witnesses, and people in the hallways.
- The Court has a very busy schedule, so you must be on time for the judge or for any other
appointment. If you are late, your case might get postponed. Make sure you bring all the court
documents you need for your appointment.
- The judge cannot speak to you about your case except when your case is being heard and when the
other party is there. The judge’s staff will help you any way they can with questions like when your
hearing is scheduled or whether the judge has decided yet on your case. But, staff cannot give you
legal advice or recommendations on what you should do. Always be polite with judges and with Court staff,
and be prepared to provide any information they request.
- If you decide that you must later communicate information about your case to the Court, you may
write what you have to say in a letter and send it to the Court providing a clear, brief explanation or
your concerns. PLEASE NOTE: You must also send a copy of the letter to the other party or parties in the
- When you represent yourself in court, get legal advice from a lawyer ahead of time to make sure
you are doing the right thing. Legal advice includes deciding what option is best for you.
In summary, always remember the four Ps:
Following these tips will go a long way toward helping you help yourself in Court.
Thanks to the Self-Service Center in Maricopa County, Arizona from whom we "borrowed" this.