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In forma pauperis (IFP or i.f.p.) is a legal term derived from the Latin phrase in the character or manner of a pauper.[1] In the United States, the IFP designation is given by both state and federal courts to someone who is without the funds to pursue the normal costs of a lawsuit or a criminal defense.[1] The status is usually granted by a judge without a hearing, and entitles the person to a waiver of normal costs, and sometimes in criminal cases the appointment of counsel. While court imposed costs such as filing fees are waived, the litigant is still responsible for other costs incurred in bringing the action such as deposition and witness fees.

Approximately two-thirds of writ of certiorari petitions to the Supreme Court are filed in forma pauperis.[2][3] Most of those petitioners are prisoners.[2] Petitions that appear on the Supreme Court's in forma pauperis docket are substantially less likely to be granted review than those on the paid docket.[4]

IFP status is usually granted in connection to pro se petitioners, but the two concepts are separate and distinct.

Notes

  1. ^ a b Henry Campbell Black. (1979). Black's Law Dictionary (5th ed.). West Publishing. p. 701. ISBN 0-8299-2041-2.  
  2. ^ a b Wrightsman, Lawrence S. (2006). The Psychology of the Supreme Court. USA: Oxford University Press. p. 60. ISBN 019530604X. http://books.google.com/books?id=c7NjaSd5N14C&pg=PA60&lpg=PA60&dq=two+thirds+certiorari+pauperis&source=web&ots=K4F_D13eyn&sig=hgneoJJVzV1b9WCC4DZ4m5fpFwY&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=7&ct=result.  
  3. ^ Stephens, Otis H.; Scheb, John M. (2002). American Constitutional Law. Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN 053454570X.  
  4. ^ Thompson, David C.; Wachtell, Melanie F. (2009). "An Empirical Analysis of Supreme Court Certiorari Petition Procedures". George Mason University Law Review 16 (2): 237, 241. http://ssrn.com/abstract=1377522.  
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

IN FORMA PAUPERIS (Latin, "in the character of pauper"), the legal phrase for a method of bringing or defending a case in court on the part of persons without means. By an English statute of 1495 (11 Hen. VII. c. 12), any poor person having cause of action was entitled to have a writ according to the nature of the case, without paying the fees thereon. The statute of 1 495 was repealed by the Statute Law Revision and Civil Procedure Act 1883, but its provisions, as well as the chancery practice were incorporated into one code and embodied in the rules of the Supreme Court (0. xvi. rr. 22-31). Now any person may be admitted to sue as a pauper, on proof that he is not worth Da5, his wearing apparel and the subject matter of the cause or matter excepted. He must lay his case before counsel for opinion, and counsel's opinion thereon, with an affidavit of the party suing that the case contains a full and true statement of all the material facts to the best of his knowledge and belief, must be produced before the proper officers to whom the application is made. A person who desires to defend as a pauper must enter an appearance to a writ in the ordinary way and afterwards apply for an order to defend as a pauper. Where a person is admitted to sue or defend as a pauper, counsel and solicitor may be assigned to him, and such counsel and solicitor are not at liberty to refuse assistance unless there is some good reason for refusing. If any person admitted to sue or defend as a pauper agrees to pay fees to any person for the conduct of his business he will be dispaupered. Costs ordered to be paid to a pauper are taxed as in other cases. Appeals to the House of Lords in forma, pauperis were regulated by the Appeal (Forma, Pauperis) Act 1893, which gave the House of Lords power to refuse a petition for leave to sue.


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