The Court has prepared materials to assist a pro se party who
has a case pending in the Court. This document describes
general information for pro se cases. In addition, there are
instructions for each type of case that can be appealed -
Civil, Criminal, Agency, and Prisoner Claims. Also, there are
forms that a pro se party must submit to the Court to proceed
with the appeal. The instructions and forms are posted on the Court's website. One copy of the
instructions and forms are sent by mail to the pro se party at
the beginning of the case. Use these materials to prepare the
A pro se party is a person who is not represented by an
attorney. An incorporated business, including a corporation
held by one person, may not appear as a pro se party in this
Court. A corporation must be represented by counsel in order
to participate in an appeal.
If a lawyer files a case on his or her own behalf as a pro se matter, the Court will treat the case as a
counseled appeal. Accordingly, the lawyer must seek admission to this Court, register as Filing User to file all documents electronically, and file an acknowledgment and notice of appearance.
Every person who files a case in this Court must follow the
Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure ("FRAP"), the Court's
Local Rules ("LR") and applicable statutes and case law. FRAP,
the LRs, and all relevant Court forms are available on the Court's
If a question arises in this case, first check the
instructions. If the answer does not appear in the
instructions, call the case manager assigned to your case. The
name and contact information is on the docketing notice sent
to each party at the beginning of the case.
STARTING THE CASE
A pro se party appealing from a district court decision must
file a notice of appeal and pay the docket fee or file for in
forma pauperis ("IFP") status in the district court as
described in the Instructions for the type of case being
appealed. The pro se party is called the "appellant" in such
A pro se party challenging an administrative agency final
decision must file a petition for review and pay the docket
fee or file for IFP status in the Court of Appeals, as
described in the instructions for Agency cases. The pro se
party is called the "petitioner" in such matters.
A pro se appellant or petitioner must file Form B or Form D. A
pro se party does not file Form, C or C-A, however, because a
case that involves a pro se party is not eligible for the
pre-argument mediation process known as CAMP.
In a case in which the appellant or petitioner is pro se, the
district court clerk or agency files the record on appeal,
including the transcript if required. Note that in an appeal
from the district court decision, if the case requires a
transcript and IFP status is not granted, the appellant must
pay for the transcript.
Within 14 days of receiving the Court of Appeals docketing
notice, a pro se party must file with the Court an
Acknowledgment and Notice of Appearance Form according to the
directions provided in the Instructions.
PRO SE INSTITUTIONAL MAIL RULE
If a pro se party who is an inmate is confined in an institution that has a system designed for handling legal mail, a notice of appeal and any other paper the inmate may file with the Court
and serve by mail on the adversary is timely if it is deposited in the institution’s internal
mail system on or before the last day for filing. In addition, the paper mailed to the Court
and the adversary must either (1) include a notarized statement or declaration stating under
penalty of perjury the date of deposit with the internal mail system and that first-class postage
is being prepaid, or (2) bear evidence such as a postmark or date stamp showing the date of deposit and
prepaid postage. If not provided, the Court in its discretion may permit the inmate to file the statement or declaration later.
Form 7, Declaration of Inmate Filing, which suggests a form for the declaration, can be found on the Court's website.
DISCLOSURE OF ATTORNEY ASSISTANCE
At any point during the case, a pro se party who submits a paper that an attorney has drafted in whole or substantial part must include at the beginning of the paper the following statement: "This document was drafted in whole, or substantial part, by an attorney." Unless the Court orders otherwise, the pro se party does not have to disclose the attorney's identity and address.
PROCEDURES FOR FILING A BRIEF AND APPENDIX
Within 14 days after the appellant or petitioner receives the
completed transcript or certifies that no transcript will be
ordered in the case, the appellant must file with the Court a
scheduling notification advising the Court when appellant or
petitioner's brief and appendix will be filed. LR 31.2.
The instructions explain how to file the scheduling
notification, prepare the brief and appendix and file the
documents with the Court.
It is important to file the brief and appendix by the date
given in the scheduling notification. The Court does not grant
requests to extend the time to file a brief or appendix unless
the reason for the request is extraordinary.
PROCEDURES FOR ORAL ARGUMENT
Within 14 days after the last appellee or respondent's brief
is filed, each party, including a pro se party, must file with
the Court an Oral Argument Statement. See LR
The Court may choose to determine any case on the submission
of the briefs, i.e., without oral argument. When the Court
decides to hear an appeal on submission, the clerk informs
the parties. Certain types of immigration appeals are
routinely determined by the Court on submission of the briefs.
Each set of instructions explains the Court's practices
regarding oral argument.
PROCEDURES FOLLOWING THE COURT'S DECISION
When the Court issues (1) an opinion pursuant to which a final judgment is entered or (2)
a summary order and judgment disposing of the appeal, a party may file a petition asking that the panel
of three judges rehear the case. A party also may file a petition for rehearing en banc which asks that all
the active judges on the Court rehear the case.
When the Court disposes of an appeal by a final three-judge order without entry of a separate judgment, a party may file a
motion for panel reconsideration and a motion for reconsideration en banc.
See LR 40.2. The motion must comply with the
requirements for filing a petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc.
Also, within 14 days after the Court files the decision in a
case, the winning party may seek costs of bringing or
defending the appeal against the losing party. If the United
States is a party in the case, costs may be assessed only if
authorized by law.
Within 90 days after the Court files the judgment or denies a
petition for rehearing, a party may file a petition for a writ
of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court.
The Court's authority to handle a case, called jurisdiction,
ends when the Court issues the mandate to the district court
or agency. The mandate usually issues either 21 days (52 days if the United
States is a party) after the
decision is filed or 7 days after the petition for rehearing
Each of these procedures is explained in the instructions.
Revised February 1, 2014