1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/In Formâ Pauperis
IN FORMÂ PAUPERIS (Latin, “in the character of pauper”), the legal phrase for a method of bringing or defending a case in court on the part of persons without means. By an English statute of 1495 (11 Hen. VII. c. 12), any poor person having cause of action was entitled to have a writ according to the nature of the case, without paying the fees thereon. The statute of 1495 was repealed by the Statute Law Revision and Civil Procedure Act 1883, but its provisions, as well as the chancery practice were incorporated into one code and embodied in the rules of the Supreme Court (O. xvi. rr. 22-31). Now any person may be admitted to sue as a pauper, on proof that he is not worth £25, his wearing apparel and the subject matter of the cause or matter excepted. He must lay his case before counsel for opinion, and counsel’s opinion thereon, with an affidavit of the party suing that the case contains a full and true statement of all the material facts to the best of his knowledge and belief, must be produced before the proper officers to whom the application is made. A person who desires to defend as a pauper must enter an appearance to a writ in the ordinary way and afterwards apply for an order to defend as a pauper. Where a person is admitted to sue or defend as a pauper, counsel and solicitor may be assigned to him, and such counsel and solicitor are not at liberty to refuse assistance unless there is some good reason for refusing. If any person admitted to sue or defend as a pauper agrees to pay fees to any person for the conduct of his business he will be dispaupered. Costs ordered to be paid to a pauper are taxed as in other cases. Appeals to the House of Lords in formâ pauperis were regulated by the Appeal (Formâ Pauperis) Act 1893, which gave the House of Lords power to refuse a petition for leave to sue.