Common Legal Words
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Disclaimer: The information on this web
page is provided as a service and a convenience by the Connecticut Judicial
Branch. It is not intended as legal advice to any person. If you have
questions about the use of these forms, your legal rights, or particular
issues in your case, it is strongly recommended that you talk to an
Due to the changing nature of the law, the forms and
information found on this web site will change from time to time. It is up
to you to follow the current procedures and to file the correct, up-to-date
forms. Each court location has a Clerk's Office and many locations also have
a Court Service Center that
can give you help and information about court procedures. Please note,
however, that Clerk's Office and Court Service Center personnel cannot
provide you with legal advice.
These instructions are to help you represent yourself in a civil
lawsuit after the complaint has already been filed. Legal words and
court documents can be confusing. Information about filling out
forms may make you more comfortable with the procedure when you come
to court. These instructions will give you some useful information
and instructions on filling out any additional necessary forms.
Every case is different and these instructions are to be used as a guide only; if you
think you need more help you may want to get an attorney. You can also
go to a Court Service Center
contact the Connecticut Network for
or find additional information at the
. Court Staff
can help you understand the legal process, and while they may give you
procedural information, they cannot
give you legal advice.
forms that you may need after a lawsuit has started and the Complaint
has been filed are:
By filing an Appearance form you are telling
the court that you are acting as your own attorney and giving the court your
mailing address. Once you file an Appearance, all court notices and papers
filed about your case that are filed after your Appearance will be sent to
the address on your Appearance.
Filling out the Appearance form makes
sure that both the Court and the parties in a case have a current mailing
address for each party in the lawsuit. It is important to fill out this form
in order to receive any court notices, and to give the other parties in your
case a correct address for correspondence about the case. For the party that
starts the case (the plaintiff), the Appearance information is taken from
the Civil Summons. Each Defendant in the case must fill out an Appearance
form by the return date listed on the Civil Summons. If any party in the
case has a change of address, the Appearance form is used to report the
change of address. There is a box at the top of the Appearance form to check
that the form is being filled out because of a change of address.
The Certificate of Closed Pleadings is the form to get your case onto the list
of cases that are ready for a trial. The Certificate of Closed Pleadings may
be filled out by either party in the case when "the pleadings are closed".
The pleadings are usually considered closed when the claims of one party
have been answered by the other party. For example, if the complaint is
answered but then a special defense is filed, the plaintiff must file a
reply to the special defense before either party can file the Certificate of
A Scheduling Order is used to help move a case along. The court will tell
you when you have to fill one out. Scheduling orders have deadlines for the
exchange of discovery, the disclosure of witnesses, a timeline for filing
papers, and any other time sensitive issues in a case. The deadlines in a
scheduling order must be followed. If they are not followed, the court may
take action against the party who does not follow them and, if it is the
plaintiff who does not follow them, the case could be dismissed.
A Motion for Continuance is the form to fill out if you need to ask the court to
change the date of when you have to come to court. Before you fill out and
file this form, you must let all the other parties know that you are asking
for a continuance. You must say on the form if the other party or parties
agree (consent) to your request.
The Withdrawal form is the form to fill
out if you would like to end your case or if you would like to ask the court
to not act on a motion you filed. Only the party that filed the case or the
motion may fill out and file a Withdrawal. For example, the Plaintiff, the
person that brought the case is the only one that can withdraw it. For a
motion, only the party that filed the motion can withdraw it. If the
Plaintiff withdraws his or her case, the Plaintiff cannot withdraw any
Counterclaim by a defendant. In a case with a complaint and a
cross-complaint, if the complaint is withdrawn, the cross-complaint would
still be active.
For Help - You may go to the
Court Service Center for help completing these or any other forms. Any additional procedural questions that you might have may also be directed to the staff of the Court Service Center.