Access to Courts

Self-Help Brochures from SEOLS

How to Represent Yourself in a Civil Case

This brochure explains how to represent yourself in a civil lawsuit.

Getting into Court and Using the Court System

This brochure answers a lot of specific questions about how you can represent yourself in court.

How to File an Answer to a Complaint

If someone files a lawsuit against you, you must file a written response to the lawsuit within 28 days of when you got the court papers. A written response to a lawsuit is called an Answer. This packet tells how to prepare your Answer. The packet also has a fill-in-the-blank Answer that you can fill out and file with the court.

How to Ask the Court for More Time

If you cannot go to a hearing because of a scheduling conflict, you can ask the judge to reschedule the hearing. This is called a continuance. The packet has a fill-in-the-blank motion for you to fill out and file with the court. The packet also explains how to fill out the motion. Please keep in mind that there is no guarantee that the hearing time will be changed.

How to Handle Witnesses When You Are Representing Yourself

This brochure explains how you can use witnesses in your court case and how to deal with the other party’s witnesses.

How to Present Evidence in Court

This brochure explains how you can present evidence in court when you represent yourself.

How to Ask for an Attorney in a Civil Case When Charged with Contempt

If you have been served with contempt of court papers, you have a right to a court-appointed attorney if you are not able to afford an attorney. This brochure explains how you can ask for a court-appointed attorney.

How to Dismiss a Lawsuit You Filed

You may want to dismiss a lawsuit you filed. The packet has a fill-in-the-blank document for you to fill out and file with the court. The packet also explains how to fill out the document.

Links to Resources on Other Websites

Representing Yourself in Court: A Citizen’s Guide

This brochure from the Ohio Judicial Conference has information to help people who represent themselves in court.

Small Claims Court: A Citizen’s Guide

This brochure from the Ohio Judicial Conference has information for those who plan to sue someone in small claims court or who are parties to a case in small claims court.

10 Steps for Presenting Evidence in Court

This brochure from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges explains how you can present evidence in court if you represent yourself.

Fill out a Poverty Affidavit

To file a lawsuit, you usually have to pay court fees up front. You may also have to pay court fees to file certain documents in the middle of a court case. If you cannot afford to pay those fees, you can ask the judge to waive the prepayment of the fees by filing a Poverty Affidavit with the court. This website walks you through the steps of filling out a Poverty Affidavit.

Find a Public Defender for a criminal case through the Office of the Ohio Public Defender

If you have a low income, you have the right to a public defender or court-appointed lawyer in felony criminal cases, misdemeanor criminal cases if jail time is possible, contempt of court cases if jail time is possible, and many juvenile court cases involving those involving Children’s Services. You usually can get public defender if you ask the judge at your first hearing. The Office of the Ohio Public Defender’s website has information on how to ask for a public defender.

 

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