Persons who are interested in litigating but do not have the financial means to do so may request that they be allowed to litigate as an indigent party. Usually, the filing of a civil action or an answer thereto requires the payment of fees. However, the law grants the courts discretion to exempt indigent litigants, who so request it, from paying said fees because they the lack necessary resources to cover the regular costs of filing a civil action or of filing their defense when they are the defendants in the case. These requests are generally referred to as an application to proceed in forma pauperis, a phrase from Latin that means “in a state of poverty” or “for reasons of poverty.”
Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
What is the procedure for filing an application to proceed in forma pauperis?
The procedure for filing an application to proceed in forma pauperis is as follows:
- An interested party must go to the office of the clerk of the court to sign an affidavit stating that they do not have financial means to pay the fees required to litigate in the court. The clerk of the court is authorized to take this type of affidavit free of charge. To facilitate the submission of the request and its evaluation by the Court of First Instance, you can use the Application to Proceed Without Payment of Fees In Forma Pauperis (OAT 1480) and the Statement in Support of the Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (OAT 1481), available at the office of the clerk of the courts or at the Pro Se Centers.
- Once the application is sworn, the clerk of the court must refer the matter to the attention of a judge. The judge may request any other information deemed necessary to determine whether to authorize the request and, in an exercise discretion, may hold a hearing to consider the application.
- If the Court authorizes the application to proceed in forma pauperis, the clerk shall comply with the order and the party may litigate as if they had paid the fees. If the application is denied, the court will state in writing the reasons for its decision.
Revised: February 2023