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What is the Difference Between Pro Se and In Forma Pauperis?

What is the Difference Between a Pro Se and an In Forma Pauperis Filer?

From time to time, a client calls in confused by the difference between being a Pro Se filer and an In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”) filer.

The term “Pro Se” is a latin term that means “on behalf of themselves” and refers to a petitioner that is filing his/her own petition without the representation of an attorney. The term Pro Se is also synonymous with “Pro Per” or “Propria Persona.” The terminology used in the Supreme Court is “Pro Se.”  Thus, a petitioner is identified as “Petitioner Pro Se” and a respondent as “Respondent Pro Se.”

The term “In Forma Pauperis” is a latin term that refers to a person filing with the Supreme Court who does not have the financial resources to pay the $300 filing fee or the substantial production costs involved in filing a paid petition.

Thus, a party that has financial resources can file as a Petitioner Pro Se, without an IFP application. Similarly, a party who has poor financial resources can file as an IFP and as a Petitioner Pro Se.

 

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