Court Service Centers
Public Information Desks
Videos and Slidecasts
1. Can I get some general information on representing myself?
- Can I get some general information on representing myself?
- What are some tips for representing myself?
- Can I look at my court case?
- Where can I find out about court resources and forms?
- What should you do to get ready for a court hearing?
- What is limited scope representation?
- Common Legal Words
2. What are some tips for representing myself?
- You have a right to represent yourself in all court cases. When you
represent yourself, you are called a “self-represented party.”
- In some cases, like landlord/tenant and family, the court has developed easy-to-read
court forms to help non-lawyers. Simplified court rules help non-lawyers in other cases, like small claims cases.
- The Branch has also developed easy-to-follow videos to help non-lawyers, such as
Connecticut Civil Lawsuit: First Steps as a Defendant.
- Before deciding to represent yourself, you may want to consult a lawyer. Many lawyers offer free or inexpensive initial consultations.
- Frequently Asked Questions about Lawyers
3. Can I look at my court case?
- You must file an "Appearance" Form (JD-CL-12) with the court clerk's office. It
includes your name, address, telephone number, and signature. It tells
the court that you are representing yourself. Filing it allows the court
to contact you about all court events in your case. There is a
How-To Video on Filling out Appearance Form JD-CL-12.
- You must follow the same court rules as lawyers. Connecticut court rules are described
in the Connecticut Practice Book. It is available on this website at
Court Rules, at all Court Service Centers, and
in all courthouse Law Libraries.
- Court clerks can give you information only. They cannot give you legal advice, such as
telling you what you should do or what option makes the most sense in your particular case.
- Courthouse law librarians can show you how to research a legal question or issue, or
where to find a particular case or court form.
- You may want to talk to a lawyer about your case before deciding to represent yourself.
4. Where can I find out about court resources and forms?
- Court cases are usually public records. You have a right to review the complete court
file of your case. Go to the clerk's office during business hours and ask to review your file.
- Obtain information about your civil or family case electronically.
- The Superior Court has booklets and informational materials for the person who wants
to represent himself or herself. These materials are available at court
clerk's offices or Court Service Centers.
- Some court forms have been designed especially for self-represented people:
The courthouse Law Libraries maintain
self-help materials and aids for persons representing themselves. The Law Libraries’
Research Guides and Law by
Subject pages give you a broad overview of a topic and a starting place for your research. You can view these self-help materials online or
ask a librarian if there is a Research Guide or
Law by Subject page on your topic.
5. What should you do to get ready for a court hearing?
This video produced by the CT Network for Legal Aid
covers things you need to know about getting ready for a court hearing,
including what to wear, who to bring with you and what happens when you see the judge.