Conduct my own case

This page lists the things you ought to be aware of as a litigant in person, in other words conducting your case yourself without a lawyer.

The parties can conduct a civil case without legal counsel (a lawyer). However, the court can sometimes instruct you to get legal councel. This applies regardless of whether the case is a common civil case with main hearing or a small claims case (for more details on case types, see under menu points civil case and small claims process)

Should I contact a lawyer?

The courts recommend that a lawyer represents the parties in cases that are complicated, extensive or involve strong emotions. All cases imply a risk of losing and the loser is also usually ordered to pay the opposing party's case costs. You should therefore weigh the need to avoid the expense of a lawyer against the risk of losing the case and having to pay case costs. Read more about payment of case costs in the Dispute Act (

Can I get my costs covered?

Legal costs can be covered in certain circumstances. Insurance policies, housing associations and trade unions often have free legal aid schemes as part of their services. Advokatvakten (see ) and some student associations also offer free legal aid.

See also under Case costs

The Norwegian Mediation Service

Some types of cases can also be suitable for consideration by the Norwegian Mediation Service. This applies in particular to disputes in which the parties have to deal with each other after the dispute has been resolved.


Case preparation

If one of the parties does not have the assistance of a lawyer, the case will usually have to go to the Conciliation Board first. Read more under Civil Case.

A dispute or civil case in a District Court starts with the claimant filing a writ of summons. The defendant will then submit a defence and reply. Parties with no lawyer (or legal counsel) can file a writ of summons, defence and reply and other pleas verbally by attending the court. The court will then put the pleading in writing. Rules on the content of writ of summons, defence and reply - see sections 9-2 and 9-3 of the Dispute Act  ( The judge must assist the parties in organising the case as well as possible during case preparation. What happens during case preparation depends on whether the case is heard according to the rules for small claims proceedings or a civil case with main hearing.

Click the links below for more details on how the processes in different case types are conducted. Please note that in cases with self-represented parties, they will perform the duties of a lawyer under the descriptions of what happens in a court session.

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