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Filing Without An Attorney

Creditors (and Other Non-Debtor Parties) Proceeding Pro Se (Without an Attorney)

Creditors (and Other Non-Debtor Parties) Proceeding Pro Se (Without an Attorney)

Creditors (and other non-debtor parties), should be aware of the following points regarding proceeding pro se (that is, without an attorney):

Filing of Papers by Corporations and Partnerships. Corporations and partnerships generally may not file papers in a bankruptcy case pro se, and, with certain exceptions listed below, will need to obtain representation by an attorney to file any papers. See Find an Attorney article. But any creditor (including a corporation or a partnership through a non-attorney representative such as a member, officer, or employee) may file pro se any documents that would not constitute the practice of law, including the following documents or an amended version of such documents:

Note: In a chapter 7 case, a creditor ought not file a proof of claim until the clerk gives notice of a deadline to file a proof of claim: often a chapter 7 case is a so-called “no asset case” in which there is nothing for a trustee to distribute to creditors and hence no proofs of claim are filed.

Participation by Corporations and Partnerships at the Meeting of Creditors (the meeting at which the debtor must appear and submit to an examination under oath under 11 U.S.C. § 343):

Under 11 U.S.C. § 341(c) , and notwithstanding any other statute, rule, or state constitution provision to the contrary, a creditor(including a corporation or partnership) holding a claim arising from a consumer debt (including a non-attorney representative of such creditor such as an employee) must be permitted to appear at and participate in the meeting of creditors in a case under chapter 7or 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Even though they generally may not appear pro se, corporations and partnerships may find that our Informational Materials page has informative topics, including Frequently Asked Questions, and Bankruptcy Basics .

Right of Creditor Who is an Individual to Appear and Participate in Case, and to File Papers. A creditor who is an individual may pursue any matter pro se. Even though an individual may appear pro se, that individual should consider whether to engage an attorney. See Find an Attorney atricle. If you decide to proceed pro se, on our Informational Materials page you may find of particular assistance Frequently Asked Questions, Bankruptcy Basics , Guides re Filing an Adversary Proceeding and re Filing a Motion for Relief From the Automatic Stay.

Although many creditors are able to successfully proceed pro se with respect to some of the more routine aspects of a bankruptcy case (such as filing a proof of claim), you may wish to consult with competent legal counsel before doing so (see Find an Attorney atricle in order to make sure you are proceeding correctly (for example, that you have correctly completed any required form, particularly if you do not understand the form).

Corporations’ and Partnerships’ Inability to File Papers and Appear Pro Se in a Proceeding Brought By or Against It. In a proceeding pursued by you or against you (such as a motion for relief from the automatic stay or an objection to your proof of claim), only individuals may appear pro se:

  • A corporation or partnership may not appear pro se in a proceeding commenced by it in a case. For example, a corporation may not file a motion for relief from the automatic stay pro se.
  • Nor may a corporation or partnership appear pro se to defend against a proceeding brought against it in a case, and this includes both filing papers in the proceeding without an attorney and representing itself without an attorney at any hearing:
  • For example, it may not appear pro se to defend against an objection to its proof of claim (but it could file an amended proof of claim pro se to cure a defect that was the subject of the objection to the proof of claim, as such a filing is not considered a prohibited pro se appearance).
  • Although a corporation or partnership may not file papers pro se in a proceeding brought against it or appear pro se at hearings, it may, without an attorney, contact the opposing party’s attorney to discuss a settlement of the matter. But the court encourages corporations and partnerships to consult with competent legal counsel if in need of legal advice. See Find an Attorney article.
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