There are many circumstances in the United States in which a person is entitled to represent himself in legal matters. The Supreme Court has held that the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution which guarantees the right the right to consultation also allows a person to represent himself at trial. Similarly, many states have constitutional provisions that allow self-representation. However, this right to self-representation has limits and there are certain circumstances in which the legal consultant is needed.
What is Representation Per Se?
An individual who is representing himself in a litigious matter is called a trial per se. A per se litigant has the right to call witnesses, to petition the court and otherwise zealously represent him in court.
No need for a litigant per a lawyer is or has any legal training. However, by definition, a litigant per se can only represent you. You cannot represent others because if I did would be guilty of unauthorized practice of law and without a license.
For individuals who want to represent themselves, there are state and private resources available to help. Many state bar associations provide assistance to litigants per se. The Internet and law schools also have available legal material.
When is prohibited Representation Per Se?
Most state laws limit per representation when the trial per se acts not only in his-own name but on behalf of others. For example:
Representation of a Corporation: generally, a licensed attorney should represent a corporation in a legal proceeding. This is to protect the rights of all shareholders of the corporation.
Representation of a Probate Estate: similarly, a licensed attorney should represent an estate. Generally, an executor does not act per se because the rights of all potential heirs and beneficiaries must be properly protected.
Furthermore, while per se litigants can act on their own behalf at trial that does not give the whole per se litigant the right to proceed without a consultant. For example:
Appeals: Most Federal Appellate Courts generally do not allow litigants per arguments presented in court.
Judicial Discretion: Sometimes, a trial judge is concerned that the ability of a litigant per se does not allow you to properly defend him or expertise of a litigant per the decorum of a courtroom is maintained and not negative for procedures. In such cases, the court may determine that the litigant per the advice of a licensed attorney necessary to advise you behind the scenes of a trial. The court may also appoint a counselor if necessary.
When Discouraging Representation per Se?
There are also situations in which an individual may have the legal right to represent him and others in which it is not a good idea. For example, if you are a defendant in a criminal trial and freedom is at stake, then, often, it is advisable to have a counselor or to be appointed a director on its behalf. Also, if you are involved in a complicated bankruptcy or civil proceedings where the outcome can greatly affect your personal finances, we recommend the assistance of a lawyer.
Only you can decide if deemed competent to represent him and if you want to take the risks associated with proceeding as a trial per se. If you are not sure how to proceed, it is worth discussing with the local bar association or an attorney licensed in order to get a better idea of how to proceed.