In forma pauperis (IFP) proceedings are those cases in which the Supreme Court allows an indigent party to file a petition for writ of certiorari without paying its $300 filing fee or preparing printed booklets (to learn about filing IFP Briefs in Opposition, click here).
A petition worthy of certiorari is generally thought to contain legal issues that: (1) have national importance; (2) have divided federal courts of appeals or state courts; and (3) have not been decided by the Supreme Court.
A copy of the Court’s Rules, which establish the procedures that must be followed, is available here. Be sure to read the following sections carefully:
- Rules 10-14 (Petitioning for certiorari)
- Rule 30 (Computation and extension of time)
- Rule 39 (Proceeding in forma pauperis)
- Rules 33.2 and 34 (8 ½ by 11-inch format briefs)
What to File
One signed original and 10 copies of a motion for leave to proceed IFP (available here).
- One signed original and 10 copies of an affidavit or declaration in support thereof (available here).
- One signed original and 10 copies of a petition for a writ of certiorari with an appendix.
You will use your petition to set out the issues, facts, history of the case, and the reasons why the Supreme Court should review the decision of the court below. You must file your petition within 90 days from the date of the entry of the final judgment in the United States court of appeals or highest state appellate court, or 90 days from the denial of a timely-filed petition for rehearing.
The following sections must be included in your 8 ½ by 11-inch format IFP petition:
You should not copy the caption of the case as it appeared in the lower court, unless it accurately identifies who the petitioner(s) and respondent(s) are in the Supreme Court.
- Question(s) Presented
Your questions should be “expressed concisely in relation to the circumstances of the case