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Eastern District of Texas

Honorable Rodney Gilstrap, Chief Judge
David A. O'Toole, Clerk of Court

Pro Se Litigants

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When you represent yourself in a court case, you are proceeding “pro se,” which is a Latin term meaning “on one’s own behalf.” The right to appear pro se in federal civil cases is provided by 28 U.S.C. § 1654, but the following limitations apply:

  • Corporations and partnerships must be represented by an attorney.
  • A pro se litigant may not represent a class in a class action lawsuit.
  • Other than to appeal the denial of a child’s social security benefits, a non-attorney parent may not appear pro se on behalf of a child.

We hope that the forms and information provided in the menus on this page are helpful, but they are not a substitute for legal advice from an experienced attorney. Furthermore, please be advised that the Clerk's Office and its employees are forbidden by law from giving legal advice such as interpreting rules or deadlines, recommending a course of action, predicting when a judge might rule, or interpreting the meaning or effect of a court order or judgment.

If you proceed pro se, you may also find the following links helpful: