Attention Web Users: Microsoft will soon drop support of Internet Explorer; if you are using IE to browse this website, please be advised that some components may not function properly. With that in mind, we advise that you become familiar with and begin using a browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari for a better user experience.

Court Tips

 

 

 

You have the right to represent yourself in court without a lawyer, but you are required to know and follow the court rules and the law.

If you are unsure of whether you need or want a lawyer, we suggest you get a brief consult with a lawyer before making your final decision. The Kentucky Lawyer Referral Service can assist you in finding a reputable legal professional to help answer your legal questions if their services are needed. This is a free service.

What is self-representation?

A person who goes to court without being represented by a lawyer is called "self-represented" or "pro se." Pro se is a Latin term that means "for oneself."
You need a lawyer if: (these are only examples)
  • You want legal advice
  • You do not fully understand papers you received from the other party side or from the court. (Court administration may be able to answer some questions for you)
  • You cannot afford to lose your case
  • You have a complicated case
  • You want to appeal a case
  • You are charged with a crime
  • You want to sue someone, but you don't know the legal theory or basis for your claim.
You may not need a lawyer if: (these are only examples)
  • You understand your case well enough to explain it to a judge;
  • You don't get overly nervous speaking in public, like a courtroom;
  • You are organized and keep accurate records;
  • You can write neatly or type;
  • You have time to prepare papers, make copies, learn the required steps, file papers with the court, do legal research and attend court hearings;
  • You have time to respond (right away) to papers you receive from the other party;
  • You are able to read, understand, and respond promptly to all papers you get from the Court;
  • Your case is relatively simple and no one will come forward to argue against what you want;
  • You are comfortable negotiating with the other side or their lawyer, if represented;
  • You speak, read, and write English well;
  • When you read state laws and court rules and cases, you understand what you have read.