Creditors (and Other Non-Debtor Parties) Proceeding Pro Se (Without An Attorney)
Creditors (and other non-debtor parties), who proceed pro se (without an attorney) should be aware of the following:
- 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, must be represented by an attorney. See Find an Attorney (Sometimes Available for Free).
- 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 these documents):
- a Request to Receive All Notices under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 2002(i);
- a Proof of Claim (Official Form 410) (including an amended Proof of Claim);
- a withdrawal of a proof of claim;
- Transfer of Claim Other Than for Security (Director's Procedural Form 2100A);
- an Application for Search of Bankruptcy Records (Director's Procedural Form 1320);
- a Request to Recover Unclaimed Funds;
- a Reaffirmation Agreement and proposed Order regarding that Agreement;
- a ballot for voting on the election of a trustee;
- a ballot voting on a proposed plan in a chapter 11 case (the plan proponent being responsible for mailing the ballot to the creditor to cast a vote).
- 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 7 or 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.
- Local Bankruptcy Rule 2003-1 also applies to the meeting of creditors.
- Even though they generally may not appear pro se, corporations and partnerships may find that our Informational Materials page has informative topics, including Bankruptcy Basics. Frequently Asked Questions may also be helpful.
- 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 (Sometimes Available for Free). If you decide to proceed pro se, on our Informational Materials page you may find of particular assistance Bankruptcy Basics. Frequently Asked Questions may also be helpful.
- Although many creditors are able successfully to 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 (Sometimes Available for Free)) 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.
- A corporation or partnership may not 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, a corporation 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. Regardless, the court encourages corporations and partnerships to consult with competent legal counsel if in need of legal advice. See Find an Attorney (Sometimes Available for Free).