Representing Yourself in Court:
"Pro Se" is Latin for "for himself." "Litigant" means a party in a legal case (litigation.) "Pro Se Litigant" means you are pursuing or defending a case in court without having your own attorney.
The Court attempts to help pro se litigants with certain basic information concerning the filing and development of their cases. The Court cannot, however, give you legal advice or represent you (cannot act as your lawyer). This includes all employees of the Court. You are responsible for educating yourself in the law that applies to your case, including all applicable federal and local rules of procedure. A Pro Se Litigant's Package is available at no charge at the District Court's Clerk's office and provides instructions on how to proceed with filing a lawsuit in the federal court.
Some important legal information resources available to you include:
PRO SE Guide
This document provides information about this court, filing procedures and other reference information.
One of the best law libraries in the state is located at the University of New Mexico School of Law, 1117 Stanford, NE., Albuquerque, NM. It is open to the public. Resource librarians at law libraries can direct you to the books and publications you need to consult for your particular case.
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
Available in a single volume (soft or hardcover), the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are the rules governing all civil cases in courts of the United States. The rules are available at any law library.
The Local Rules of the United States District Court, District of New Mexico
These rules are supplemental to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and apply only to this court. A copy is available upon request from the Clerk's office and through the court's web site. Although supplemental to the Federal Rules, the Local Rules are nonetheless very important, and you should familiarize yourself with them.
Legal resource books
Many different legal resource books are available at law libraries or direct from publishers. In addition to law libraries, any public library should have at least some legal resource texts.
The Internet is a vast resource of information.