Individuals may commence a civil action in Federal Court without being represented by an attorney. Individuals that represent themselves in court are called "pro se litigants" or "self-represented litigants." "Pro se" is a Latin term, meaning "on one’s own behalf."
In a civil case, there is no constitutional right to free legal representation. Therefore, if you start a civil case without a lawyer, you should be prepared to pursue your case to completion. Pro se litigants must follow all applicable federal rules, polices and procedures including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and this Court’s Local Rules.
Please be advised that the Clerk’s Office and its employees are forbidden by law from giving legal advice. Legal advice could be described as, but is not limited to: interpretation of rules, recommending a course of action, predicting a judicial officer’s decision or interpreting the meaning or effect of any court order or judgment.
A pro se party (non prisoner) may consent to receive electronic service of documents to the extent and in the manner authorized by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the Local Rules. Consent must be given by completion of an "Authorization Form to Receive Documents Electronically" form which can be accessed below. Consent may only be provided in a particular case and may be revoked by the pro se party at any time upon written notice to the Clerk's Office.
Below please find the Court's Pro Se Guide which contains information if you decide to proceed pro se as well as links to forms that may be helpful when filing a civil action. Other available pro se forms can be found on the US Courts website.
- NCMD Pro Se Guide
- Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Long Form)
- Complaint Forms
- Complaint for Civil Case
- Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights (Non-Prisoner)
- Complaint for Employment Discrimination
- Complaint for Review of Social Security Decision
- Additional Complaint forms located on the US Courts website
- Civil Cover Sheet
- Summons in a Civil Action
- Notice of Lawsuit & Request for Waiver of Service of Summons
- Waiver of the Service of Summons
- Authorization Form to Receive Documents Electronically
Other helpful Links
- Glossary of Terms
- Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
- NCMD Local Rules
- Representing Yourself in Federal District Court
For more information and other federal forms please visit the US Courts website.
Any external hyperlinks found within this website contain information created and maintained by other public or private organizations. The links are provided for the user’s convenience. The US District Court, Middle District of North Carolina, does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information; nor does it control or guarantee the on-going availability, maintenance, or security of these Internet sites. Further, the inclusion of these links is not intended to reflect their importance or exclusion of the receiving and/or filing of others forms.