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Legal Topics: Representing Yourself in Court


  • Answering a Lawsuit , from the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General.
  • Civil Actions (in District Court), from the Self-Help Center.
  • Civil Court, from the Second District (Ramsey County) courts. Includes many of the more common procedures in the district courts, such as filing a summons and complaint answering a summons and complaint and filing a motion. Although these are written for Ramsey County, the Rules of Civil Procedure and General Rules of Practice are the same throughout the state.
  • Deposition Handbook: The Essential Guide for Anyone Facing or Conducting a Deposition, 6th ed. - Bergman, Paul - NOLO - KF 8900 .B44 2014.
  • Filing a Summons and Complaint and Answering a Summons and Complaint, from the First District courts.
  • Going to Court in Minnesota, from the Minnesota Judiciary, is "a half-hour video designed to help immigrants, refugees, and others better understand the Minnesota court system and be prepared to go to court. It is provided in four languages: English, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish."
  • Law for Non-Lawyers, from the Minnesota State Law Library. Many public libraries frequently carry these types of titles as well.
  • "Represent yourself in court: how to prepare & try a winning case case / Paul Bergman & Sara J. Berman-Barrett; cartoons by Mike Twohy. KF8841 .B47 2010
  • Representing Yourself in Court, from the Self-Help Center.
  • Representing Yourself in Court, from Nolo.
  • Representing Yourself (Pro Se), from the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.
  • What to Expect as a Self-Represented Plaintiff or Defendant: Civil Trial (without a jury) , from the Self-Help Center.
  • Videos & Tutorials, from the Self-Help Center.
  • County Law Libraries are open to the public.
  • Legal Advice Clinics & Self-Help in the Courts, from the Self-Help Center.
  • Self-Help Resources on the Internet, compiled by the Minnesota State Law Library.
  • The right to represent oneself in court is protected by both federal (Title 28 §1654 United States Code) and Minnesota law. The Minnesota unauthorized practice of law statute, is found in Minnesota Statutes §481.02. Courts have the power to regulate who may act in a representative capacity for a litigant. If you plan to represent yourself, be prepared to speak for yourself. If you are a business entity, you probably need a lawyer. For an explanation of this potentially complicated question, see Entities Appearing in District Court Need Attorney Representation, from the JDs Rising blog.

    DISCLAIMER:  As librarians and not lawyers, we can suggest resources but cannot give legal advice (such as which form to file), or legal opinions, (such as how a statute might apply to particular facts.)  To do so could be considered the unauthorized practice of law.  Even though we try to suggest materials that will be of help, further research is usually required to find a complete and correct answer.  For many questions, the best answer may be to consult an attorney.  For links to resources on finding an attorney click here.

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    Minnesota State Law Library: Legal Topics: Representing Yourself in Court

    Last updated on March 12, 2015.
    Links checked on March 12, 2015.

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