Do I have right to defend my own case in court without...

Do I have right to defend my own case in court without lawyer?


Question. I have been made a party in 4-5 cases in different courts. It is difficult for me to pay to advocates in these cases. Can I defend myself in these cases in the court on my own and fight the cases without engaging any lawyer?

Court roomAnswer. Yes. You have the right to fight your own cases without engaging any advocate. It is not necessary that you must engage an advocate to fight your case in a court. A party in person is allowed to fight his own case in the court.

That said, you should be aware of certain difficulties that you may face. No doubt, you would be the master of the facts of your case. But, you should also have a working knowledge of law, procedures and to some extent, the court-craft. If you don’t know the procedural and legal nuances, you may lose on important points. The courts have become slave to their own procedures. These procedures are required to followed mechanically even if they may appear to be ridiculous or obsolete. And, there are too many of them. Courts won’t allow you to digress from the established procedures. Even for filing a petition, there is a set procedure which may differ from court to court. Just to give an example, in Supreme Court, each annexure has be certified as true copy on its last page; in Delhi High Court each annexure has to be certified as true copy on each page; and, in Central Administrative Tribunal, each annexure has to be certified as true copy on the first and last page. So, you must know what to do where, otherwise you’ll have to keep spending your time and energy in curing the defects of filing, etc. After all, time also has some value in terms of money. This is just one requirement, there are so many others in each court. You’ll have to learn these by trial and error. This is not to scare you, but to caution you of the difficulties.

As it is said, practice makes a man perfect. By continuously practicing in a court, advocates acquire knowledge of the law and procedures in a court. If you want to fight your own case, you’ll have to learn the tricks of the game from square one and will have to master those skills quite fast, since you are learning at the cost of your own case.

You should also be aware that many of the presiding officers in the courts (i.e., the judges) may not look at the party in person in a favourable way. This is because a party in person may take extra time and say many unnecessary things and may not know the law and procedure; so, many judges lose patience. At the same time, I have seen some good judges who give a sympathetic hearing to a party in person. So, it all depends.

Thus, if you have an aptitude for law (and, more so, if you have a degree in law), go ahead and fight your own case in court, without engaging a lawyer. The law does not stop you from fighting your own case and you have every right to do so. It is only the lack of knowledge of law and procedure that may pose difficulties. One more option could perhaps be to fight your own case, but take guidance (about procedures and basic provisions of law) from some junior upcoming advocate who may not charge you much.

About Dr. Ashok Dhamija

Dr. Ashok DhamijaDr. Ashok Dhamija is a New Delhi based Supreme Court Advocate, holds Ph.D. in Constitutional Law, is author of 3 law books, and is an ex-IPS officer. He is the founder of this law portal. Read more by clicking here. List of his articles. List of his Forum Replies. List of his Quora Answers.

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  1. सर central government ने 2003 मे एक बिल पास की या जिसमें पाराधी जाति को scheduled tribas मे से निकाल दिया है मैने central or state government के कई department के पास RTI act दारा सुचना ए मांगी है.मे अभी Gujarat High Court भी गया था और में ने Gujarat High Court के Section Officer से बात की तो उनहोने बताया की आप के पास जितने RTI पत्र के जवाब है उनकी सभी की फोटो कोपी हमे दिजीए फिर हम आपको ये बताए गें की आप PIL कर सकते हैं कि नही तो सर मे अभी उनको सारे RTI पत्र और उनके जवाब भेज रहा हूँ परंतु में उनहे कैसे बताउ की अगर Gujarat High Court ने मुझे PIL करने से मना कर दिया तो नही मेरे पास और नही मेरी जाति के पास उतने पैसे है की हम Privet Advocate रख शके.तो सर कया हम without advocate हमारी जाति के लिए केस लड सकते हैं? तो में Gujarat High Court से कैसे अपनी बात की सिफारिश करु please हमे जलद बताइ ए गा.

  2. Sir, i had filed a divorce petition in Family Court Bangalore in 2010. The opponent filled a petition for transfer of case to Hubli Court in Dharwad High Court. The matter was disposed favoring me. Later in 2012, the opponent approached Supreme Court and their petition was admitted and the proceedings were stayed at Bangalore. I didn’t appear thinking that the matter will be made ex party and disposed favoring the opponent. It’s around 5 years now and my case is still stayed. Last year Nov, i visited Supreme Court and approached the Legal Aid Services. An advocate has been appointed on my behalf but the matter is not getting listed. Whenever i speak to the advocate, i get a reply that they did their part and listing will be taken care by the computer itself. Sir, how long should i wait still? Is there any way to get my case listed? I absolutely have no objection whether the case proceeds at Bangalore or Hubli. Thanks.