The guide is meant to help someone who is not represented by a lawyer understand the general rules and procedures of a civil court case in Louisiana. It is not a complete guide to the law nor does it discuss every issue or aspect of the law that may affect your case.
This information is not meant to replace State laws or Court Rules. The purpose of this guide is to give general information and make it easier to represent yourself in court. You have a right to represent yourself in court, but it comes with the responsibility to follow certain court rules and procedures.
The guide will help you with issues concerning waiving court fees by:
Answering questions on how to file for an IFP in the "Frequently Asked Questions" section below;
Preparing forms for you to file for an IFP in the "Forms Available" section;
Explaining the steps for filing an IFP in the "Instructions" section attached to the form;
Giving you more information about how to file court papers for free in the "Related Links" section;
Helping you find a lawyer in the "Find an Attorney/Community Resources" section.
*In order to file with the Clerk of Court, forms must be printed out and filled in completely. If you are unable to do this, or do not have access to a printer, you can visit your local library for assistance. For more assistance locating a library, click here.
FEE DELAYER ("IFP" or "In Forma Pauperis")
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COURT FEES IN LOUISIANA
1. What is an IFP?
An "IFP" (In Forma Pauperis) is commonly referred to as a "fee waiver." However, it is actually more like a "fee delayer." The IFP is an option for low-income individuals (125% or less than the poverty level) to delay having to pay the court fines. Instead of paying up front, typically either the petitioner or defendant (or both) will pay at the end of the proceedings. Note: The judge reserves the right to deny anyone's request for an IFP.
2. What does an IFP stand for?
"IFP" stands for In Forma Pauperis. This is Latin for "In the character or manner of a pauper."
3. How do I file for an IFP?
Print out the IFP form posted above. Print it out, and fill all the information out honestly. Make sure you do not sign your name until you are in front of a public notary. In addition, you must bring a "third-party" (a friend, family member, etc. that personally knows you and is aware of your financial situation) who can attest to the veracity (truthfulness) of the IFP.
Please note: Even if your IFP application is approved, you may have to pay court costs.