Pro Se Information

GENERAL INFORMATION

TO FILE A COMPLAINT

REFERENCES

LEGAL TERMS

GENERAL INFORMATION

  1. You are a pro se litigant if you do not have an attorney and you are representing yourself.
  2. You are responsible for complying with the Rules of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (RCFC).
  3. Several legal research sources are listed below under References.
  4. Employees of the court are not permitted to give you legal advice.
  5. You are responsible for paying filing fees and copying fees: $400 for filing a complaint; $.15 a page for copies made on the copier in the clerk's office; and $.50 a page, for up to 50 pages, for copies made for out-of-town litigants. Checks or money orders should be made payable to "Clerk, U.S. Court of Federal Claims."
  6. All communications to the court should be in writing and directed to the Clerk of Court at the address listed above. You should not contact the Judge or the chamber's staff.
  7. Before filing an action, consider the consequences of filing a frivolous lawsuit. Under limited circumstances the court may order the losing party to pay the attorney's fees and costs incurred by the prevailing party to defend the action.


TO FILE A COMPLAINT

  1. Refer to the Rules of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (RCFC).
  2. Complete and sign the Cover Sheet and attach it to the Complaint.
  3. Original and two (2) copies of the Complaint are filed with the Clerk.
  4. Filing Fee or Application to Proceed without Prepayment of Fees is filed with the Clerk.
  5. Service of the Complaint upon the United States will be made by the Clerk of Court according to Rules of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (RCFC)


REFERENCES

LIBRARIES:

Open to the Public for Research:

Court Library at 717 Madison Place, NW
2d Floor
Washington, DC 20439
202-275-8411

University and Law School Libraries throughout the country; City and County Libraries throughout the country.


DICTIONARIES:

Blacks Law Dictionary

Ballentine's Law Dictionary


WEBSITES:

The Court of Federal Claims Bar Association maintains a list of attorneys who practice before the court by their fields of practice: www.cfcbar.org

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: www.cafc.uscourts.gov

The Federal Circuit Bar Association: www.fedcirbar.org


LEGAL TERMS YOU MAY ENCOUNTER WHEN FILING YOUR COMPLAINT

Amendment:
Correction of an error in any pleading or legal document.
Answer:
Formal written statement made by a defendant in the civil action which answers each allegation contained in the complaint.
Certificate of Service:
Document evidencing delivery of a legal document to a party.
Civil action:
Every lawsuit other than a criminal action; an action brought by a party to enforce or protect a private right.
Complaint:
Legal document that begins a civil action. It states the facts and identifies the action the court is asked to take.
Costs:
Expense of prosecuting or defending a civil action, does not include attorney's fees.
Defendant:
The party against whom the complaint is made. In this court the Defendant is always the United States.
Dismissal:
Termination of the action.
In Forma Pauperis:
Permission to sue without prepayment of fees, given by the court to a person who does not have financial means to pay. Abbreviated as IFP. See Form AO-240.
Jurisdiction:
Power or authority of the Court to hear and decide a case. The jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims includes claims against the federal government for money damages. To learn more about the court's jurisdiction, click here.
Local Rules of Court:
Rules of Procedure of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
Parties:
Persons or entities who prosecute or defend a civil action.
Plaintiff:
Person bringing and prosecuting a civil action.
Pro Se:
Proceeding with a civil action without an attorney.
Service of Process:
Delivery of legal documents to a party giving reasonable notice of proceedings and affording an opportunity to appear and be heard.
Summons:
Document notifying defendant that a civil action has begun and that defendant is required to appear and answer the complaint.
United State Code:
Federal statutory law published as a multi-volume code. Abbreviated U.S.C.