Self Representation

Quick Resources

  • Pro Per: A person who represents themselves rather than hiring an attorney is a “Pro Per” litigant
  • Standards of conduct: Persons acting on their own behalf are held to the same standards and duties as an attorney admitted to the practice of law in the State of Michigan. Such persons are expected to know what the law requires and how to accomplish his or her purposed in accordance with the applicable statues and court rules.

    Judges and their staff cannot provide legal advice. Most court employees are not lawyers so should not be asked to provide legal advice. Employees of the court are only allowed to provide procedural information. Litigants may refer to the Michigan Court Rules and Michigan laws when seeking legal guidance.
  • Seeking Advice: If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney. If you do not have a lawyer and do not know a specific lawyer to contact, you can be referred to a lawyer through the State Bar of Michigan or the Washtenaw County Bar Association.
  • Dispute Resolution Center: This is a non-profit program that provides private and confidential mediation services on a non-discriminatory basis to all citizens regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, political affiliation, disability, or ability to pay. The Dispute Resolution Center assists individuals, groups, and businesses to work out their disagreements outside of the court.

Self-Help Information Available

The court has free self-help packets available for some types of proceedings. Contact the individual court for assistance.

Sources for Self-Help

  1. The State Bar of Michigan has an online legal self-help center that provides resources to the public.
  2. The State Court Administrative Office has self-help information at their website.
  3. The Michigan Legal Help website provides help to persons representing themselves.
  4. Eastern Michigan University Legal Resource Center provides self-help guidance and information at the following location:

    101 E Huron, 1st floor
    P.O. Box 8645
    Ann Arbor, MI 48107-8645
    Phone: 734-994-0160
  • Indigent: If you are indigent and qualify under specific financial guidelines, you may seek assistance from the following service:

    Legal Services of South Central Michigan
    Washtenaw Office
    15 S. Washington Street
    Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197
    Phone: 734-665-6181
    Fax: 734-665-2974

Attendance at Court Proceedings

Arrive at the assigned judge’s courtroom or referee’s hearing room on the scheduled day and time of your court proceeding. Arrive early to allow time for courthouse security measures. Be prepared to spend most of the morning or afternoon in court. Your case may be heard immediately or you may have to wait for other cases to be heard.

When you arrive, check in with the court recording clerk in the courtroom. The court recording clerk sits at the desk next to the judge / referee in the courtroom

What to Bring to the Court Proceeding

  1. All copies of your documents pertaining to the scheduled court proceeding.
  2. Paper for your notes
  3. Pen or Pencil

If you are presenting a motion, bring the corresponding proposed order to present to the judge if your motion is granted.

What to do at the Court Proceeding

Refer to the “Courtroom Etiquette” procedures.

If Your Motion is Granted

If you have a proposed order prepared, pursuant to MCR 2.602, tell the judge you have a proposed order to be signed then ask permission to hand the order to the judge. If the judge signs the order, take it to the main Court Services' office and ask for a true copy of the order. Then serve a copy of the order on each attorney/party of record.

  • If you do not have an order prepared, you will need to prepare a proposed order, pursuant to MCR 2.602, based on the judge’s ruling. Provide an extra copy of the proposed order and a self-addressed envelope so the clerk can return a true copy to you after the judge signs the order. After you receive the true copy, make a copy of the order and serve it on the attorneys / parties of record.

If Your Motion is Taken Under Advisement

The judge states the need to review the motion on record and will either adjourn the motion to another date or advise the parties in writing once they have considered the motion.

IF Your Motion is Denied

The judge will state the reasons for denial on the record. The judge will probably direct the opposing attorney / party to prepare a proposed order. If you want the reasons for denial in writing, you will need to order a transcript of the hearing, and you will have to pay for the transcript. See the Transcripts page for instructions on ordering transcripts.