Pro Se Legal Representation Law and Legal Definition

Pro Se legal representation refers to a process where a party in a case represents oneself in a court of law, instead of being represented by a lawyer. Pro se is derived from the Latin term that means "for oneself". This proceed can occur in any court proceeding where the party acting in pro se legal representation is the plaintiff or the defendant, or if the person is representing in a civil or criminal case. According to the report of the American Bar Association study of self-represented litigants conducted in the year 1991:

1. Persons with incomes less than $50,000 are more likely to represent themselves;

2. About 20% of self-represented litigants report they can afford an attorney but do not want one;

3. Self-represented persons are more likely to be satisfied with the judicial process than those who are represented by attorneys;

4. Almost 75% of those who represented themselves in court said they would do it again.

Reasons for choosing the pro se legal representation are:

1. Lawyers are too expensive;

2. Many feel that lawyers do not deliver quality services, fail to return telephone calls, and treat their clients in an unfriendly or unprofessional manner;

3. For many, their cases or situations are simple enough to handle themselves or involve simple legal document preparation and filing;

4. People know their own situation best and believe that they are in the best position to address any issues that may face;

5. People want to be in control of their own lives, circumstances and situations.

In the U.S. the provision for pro se legal representation is referred under 28 USCS § 1654. This provision reads:“In all courts of the United States the parties may plead and conduct their own cases personally or by counsel as, by the rules of such courts, respectively, are permitted to manage and conduct causes therein”.