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New York StateUnified Court System

To Proceed as a Poor Person

If you do not have enough money to pay the court costs and fees of the proceeding, you may ask the court to permit you to proceed without having to pay the court costs. These costs include the charges for starting an HP proceeding, filing a petition, filing a jury demand, and appealing a court ruling.

Your application for “poor person’s relief” must be supported by an affidavit which must:

1) set forth the amount and sources of your income, and list your property with its value;
2) state that you are unable to pay the costs, fees and expenses necessary to prosecute or defend the action or proceeding or to maintain or respond to the appeal;
3) indicate the nature of the action or proceeding;
4) provide sufficient facts so that the merit of your claims can be determined;
5) indicate whether any other person would benefit from any award in your case, and if so, whether that person is unable to pay such costs fees and expenses.

You may obtain the affidavit from the court or you may download the civil court form now by clicking on Poor Person's Relief. To find out where to make your application in your county, click on Locations.

If the judge approves your application, the judge will sign an order listing which fees and costs you do not have to pay. This order may also contain directions that if you recover any money in your lawsuit, the money shall be paid to the Clerk of the Court which may then recover the fees and costs which you previously could not afford to pay.

Once your application has been approved the judge may order that a copy of your application and the order granting it be mailed to the New York City Corporation Counsel’s office at 100 Church Street, New York, NY 10007.