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Representing Yourself in United States District Court

Welcome to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.  The court has provided these resources for people who file or defend a civil case on their own behalf, without an attorney.  This type of person is often referred to as a pro se litigant (pronounced pro say). "Pro se" is a Latin phrase meaning "for oneself." If you are a pro se litigant, please review these materials carefully before proceeding with your case.

The rules, procedures and law that affect your case can be hard to understand.  With that in mind, you should seriously consider trying to obtain professional legal assistance from an attorney instead of representing yourself as a pro se party.  The resources on this website are basic, and are offered as a courtesy only. The materials should not be considered definitive and do not constitute legal advice.  If you have questions after reviewing these materials, you may wish to contact the Clerk’s Office or visit the court’s law library.  Please note, however, that court employees cannot give you legal advice.

Three Types of Pro Se Resources:

  • Guide & Forms for Prisoner ClaimsClick this link for information about litigating a case that involves your imprisonment, such as a petition for writ of habeas corpus or a complaint about prison conditions.
  • Guides & Forms for All Other Civil Claims: Click this link for information about litigating a case that does not involve imprisonment, such as an employment discrimination claim, or a general civil rights claim.
  • Guidance for Social Security Appeals: Click this link for information about seeking district court review of a decision of the commisioner of the social security administration.

Additional Resources:

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply to cases in all federal courts.

The Southern District of Indiana's Local Rules apply to cases in this court.

A number of Free Legal Services may be helpful.

Learn more about Federal Courts, or the Indiana State Courts.

  Federal Bar Association - Representing Yourself in Federal District Court:   A Handbook for Pro Se Litigants.