Hello, welcome to TransLegal's lesson of the week.
Today we're going to talk about some Latin terms which have to do with representing yourself in court.
We will start with pro se. That's a Latin term meaning on one's own behalf and in a court setting it refers to persons who present their own cases without lawyers or other representatives. Now some people choose to act pro se because they have legal experience or they're otherwise very confident about their ability to convey their claim or their defence without any assistance. Other people may simply wish to avoid paying attorney's fees and the often exorbitant expenses associated with hiring a lawyer.
Now here's an example of a pro se litigant. "Due to her experience in the field, the Harvard Law School professor proceeded as a pro se defendant in the case regarding real property".
Now there are a few other Latin phrases which have the same meaning as pro se but they're just used in other jurisdictions. We have in propria persona which is often abbreviated as in proper and you hear it in a phrase like "the appellants are before this court in propria persona in the latest instalment of their lengthy dispute".
And we have pro persona, very similar, and you would hear it in a phrase like "the accused raised additional issues in a pro persona brief".
Now in England and Wales a phrase that is usually used is an English phrase – litigant in person. Nice and easy to understand and you really don't need any explanation from me.
Now most pro se litigants are at a disadvantage in contested litigation. It may be awkward or inappropriate for them to appear both as counsel and as a witness. They're deprived of the judgment of an independent third party in framing the case, in evaluating how to present the evidence and in forming legal arguments and also in making sure that it is reason rather than emotion that steers how the case is conducted. That's why Judges sometimes warn a party who is proceeding pro se of the old saying that anyone who represents himself in court has a fool for a client and an ass for an attorney.
Thanks for listening. Please leave us some comments in the box below and I'll see you again soon.