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Representing Yourself in Court

Court Rules and Procedures

Self-represented parties are expected to comply with  the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("FRCP")  and the Court's Local Rules  as well as the Federal Rules of Evidence ("FRE").  

The FRCP are the rules that all parties are expected to use during the life of a federal case. Cornell University maintains an archive of legal information that includes an online copy of the FRCP.  Generally speaking, a party must follow the rule that permits, requires, or otherwise authorizes the filing of a motion or other document.

The District of Oregon also publishes local rules that augment or refine the FRCP. These rules are particular to the procedures of this Court and address, for example, the form of pleadings and documents.

The FRE are the rules that describe the allowance and proper use of evidence in a civil trial. Cornell University also maintains an online copy of the FRE. Documents, testimony, and other evidence must meet the requirements set out in the FRE to be admitted and considered by a court and/or jury.

Click here for the rules governing Section 2254 and 2255 proceedings.

In addition, the Court’s Guide for Self-Represented Parties contains general information about filing a civil action in federal court and describes some actions necessary to begin the case.

Pro Bono Counsel and Other Assistance

Parties without legal representation may file a motion for appointment of pro bono counsel. Self-represented parties are encouraged to seek assistance from legal aid organizations or law school legal clinics.

Law Help's Oregon page has a list of resources and information for the state of Oregon, including links to legal aid organizations.

Electronic Filing (E-Filing)

Pleadings are filed using the district’s Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system. Self-represented parties may request permission to e-file or to receive electronic notices in their cases. For information on e-filing as a self-represented party, click here.

Forms for Self-Represented Parties

Additional forms for self-represented parties are available at www.uscourts.gov.

Petition and Complaint Forms - Prisoner Civil Rights and Habeas

Petition and Complaint Forms - Other

Filing and Service

For information on registering for CM/ECF, see the page on how to e-File in Your Case as a Self-Represented Party.

Case Initiation and Management


Applying for Pro Bono Representation

For more information on applying for Pro Bono Representation see the page on Applying for Pro Bono Representation.



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