In Forma Pauperis Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of In Forma Pauperis, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is In Forma Pauperis?

Latin word meaning ” in form of a pauper or poor man”. The legal term used by the judge to allow somene who has to file a legal case or defend oneself in ongoing trial, and who has no money to fund the trials, to file a case or appoint a counsel free of cost or without paying majority of charges. Such waiver is done via an affidavit stating the inability to pay such charges.

History and Meaning of In Forma Pauperis

In forma pauperis is a legal term that originated in English common law, meaning "in the character or manner of a pauper." The term refers to a legal process that allows individuals who cannot pay the typical court fees associated with filing a lawsuit to proceed with their case without incurring those fees. This system has been in place since the earliest days of the English common law system, and is designed to ensure that everyone has access to the courts, regardless of their ability to pay.

Examples of In Forma Pauperis

  1. A person who has been arrested and charged with a crime may request to proceed in forma pauperis, allowing them to obtain legal representation without having to pay for those services.
  2. A person who wishes to file a lawsuit but cannot afford the associated court fees may file a request to proceed in forma pauperis.
  3. A person who is already involved in a lawsuit but cannot afford to continue paying for legal fees may request to proceed in forma pauperis.

Legal Terms Similar to In Forma Pauperis

  1. Pro Bono - legal services provided without charge to clients who cannot afford to pay for them.
  2. Subpoena Duces Tecum - a legal order requiring the production of documents or evidence in a case.
  3. Writ of Habeas Corpus - a legal order requiring a person who is in custody to be brought before a court or judge.