Pro Per Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Pro Per, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Pro Per?
Short term for a latin word “propria persona” which means “for oneself or ownself”. It refers to someone who is going to be his/her own lawyer or attorney in a case where he/she is either plaintiff or defendant.Rather than appointing a lawyer, he/she acts as lawyer for self.
History and Meaning of Pro Per
Pro Per, also known as "propria persona", derives from Latin, which means "for oneself or ownself." It refers to a person who chooses to represent themselves in a legal proceeding, rather than hiring an attorney. This term is more commonly used in the United States than in the United Kingdom or other common law jurisdictions. In such cases, the person who decides to represent themselves becomes their own lawyer or attorney.
Representing oneself in a legal proceeding is recognized as an individual's right in the United States. This is known as pro se or in pro per. In both terms, the individual represents themselves without hiring an attorney.
Examples of Pro Per
Three examples of when an individual may choose to represent themselves in a legal proceeding are:
- An individual is involved in a small claims court dispute but cannot afford to hire an attorney
- A defendant shows up in court and decides not to use their court-appointed attorney and instead represent themselves
- An individual in a family court proceeding is comfortable advocating for him/herself but cannot afford an attorney.
Legal Terms Similar to Pro Per
Two legal terms that are similar to pro per are pro se and self-representation. Pro se is another term that means representing oneself in a legal proceeding, and it's commonly used in federal courts. Self-representation is another legal term that means representing oneself in court. Overall, these terms all refer to an individual who chooses to represent themselves in a legal proceeding, rather than hiring an attorney.