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Court Basics


Representing yourself in court can be a daunting task. Understanding how the court works and what resources are available can help make the legal process less overwhelming. The following resources will provide you with a general overview of the court process and will help you to better understand the court system so that you can most effectively resolve your legal issues.

 

Seeking legal advice and need to contact an attorney, but do not know how? We have resources that can help.

Columbus Bar Association  
Search the Columbus Bar Association attorney directory or get an online referral or by calling (614) 221-0754 Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM - 5 PM

Columbus Find a Lawyer  
Search for local attorneys and legal information

Legal Aid Society Columbus  
The Legal Aid Society can only take certain types of cases and parties must qualify. To find out the income qualifications, complete the intake process online or call (614) 241-2001 Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM.

Brief Advice Clinics  
If you are representing yourself, but have a question about a legal issue and would like to speak to an attorney, a brief advice clinic may be a good option. Find times, locations, income qualifications, and more information about upcoming clinics.

Patriot Program  
For Active Military, Veterans, and their Families ONLY: The Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides pro bono (free) services for certain issues, including Service Members Civil Relief Act, Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act of 1994, and creating wills and powers of attorney. Visit their website or call (800) 282-0515.  

The Dispute Resolution Department provides mediation services for the Court and the public to attempt to resolve disputes out of court.‚Äč

Mediation is a way to resolve disputes outside of a courtroom with the help of a neutral mediator. The mediator helps parties exchange information and proposals through negotiation. Mediation is private and the mediator can document an agreement in writing for the parties to resolve a case. This process can be much quicker and cheaper than a traditional lawsuit.


Learn More  

Preparing effectively for court is very important. We have information and resources that can help.

View more on the Municipal-Court-Overview Brochure  


Before You Get to the Courtroom
  •  Be organized and prepared.
  •  Leave all food, drink, and chewing gum outside of the courtroom.
  •  If you bring people to the courtroom, be sure they are not disruptive.


Courtroom Behavior
  •  Arrive 15 minutes early to the courtroom— remember to leave extra time to get to the courthouse, park, and get through security. If you are late for your hearing, your case may be heard without you.
  •  Check in with the Bailiff when you arrive. Once court begins, do not leave unless it is an emergency. You may miss your case.
  •  Tell the judge or magistrate if you do not understand a question.
  •  When you speak to the judge or magistrate, try to begin or end what you say with “Your Honor,” “Sir,” or “Ma’am”.
  •  Dress appropriately to show that you respect the Court and are taking the matter seriously.


Please Remember: Court Staff are here to help you BUT can only help you in certain ways and must be fair to everyone involved in the case. Self Help staff are not allowed to give legal advice or perform legal research. They can only provide you with basic information or directions.

External links designed to help you research and learn more about the court process and resources to help resolve your legal issue.

Basic Information

Glossary of Legal Terms  - Legal Terms defined in a non-legal way
Ohio State Bar Association Public Resources  
Columbus Bar Association Public Resources  
Ohio Legal Help  

 

Research Guides

Guide to Legal Research  -Legal Terms defined in a non-legal way
Ohio Primary Law Research Guide  
Ohio Secondary Sources Legal Research Guide  
Franklin County Law Library  
*For guides on specific legal issues, see the LibGuides tab. There are specific guides for 29 different legal issues. Visit the Law Library Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM, call at (614) 525-4971, or email the reference librarian.  



Looking up the Law

Ohio Revised Code  
Baldwin’s Ohio Revised Code Annotated is available through the Westlaw datbase and Page's Ohio Revised Code is available through Lexis.
Both print and electronic versions are available at the Franklin County Law Library.


 

Case Law

Ohio Supreme Court Reporter of Decisions Database  
Case law can also be found on Westlaw and Lexis accessible at the Franklin County Law Library.

Can't find what you need here? We have created a list of helpful links to help with that. External Resources  

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