Forms To Use In Court
For cases in the California Superior Court
There are California Court Forms that are accepted in every California Superior Court. Our local San Diego Superior Court has created forms for some situations not addressed by the state-wide forms. Because there are so many different legal situations, there are not standard Court forms for every legal issue. If you cannot locate a standard Court form for your situation, we have listed options for drafting your own court documents on the required pleading paper.
If you are not sure if there is a standard court form, we recommend that you first search the State forms and then the San Diego forms. If you need help navigating the standard forms, the California State Court, San Diego Courts, and the Law Library all have Self-Help online centers that may help you locate a form if you do not know the name or number of the court form.
For cases in Federal Court
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California has standard court forms. There is also a Pro Se Packet (for people representing themselves in Court) to start an action. Like the State and San Diego Courts, there is not a standard form to fit every legal issue.
A sample Pleading Paper template for Federal Court can be located on our Guides page and can be modified with sample language from our databases or print resources.
Drafting Your Own Court Documents Using Library Resources
If there is not a court form that fits your particular situation, you will need to draft your own document on pleading paper explaining to the Court what you are requesting. There are several resources that have sample language to use in drafting common pleadings and motions.
A sample Pleading Paper template for California Superior Court can be located on our Guides page and can be modified with sample language from our databases or print resources.
Here is a list of common databases you can use to find sample language to help you draft your own court documents:
- Westlaw Database (California & Federal)
- Lexis Database (California & Federal)
- Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Database (California)
- Gale Legal Forms Database (California)
Our Research & Motion Guides and Self-Help Center also contain links to court forms and samples of various motions.
Please ask a Reference Librarian if you are having trouble locating samples, as we have many more resources that may help you.
Forms To Use Outside A Court Setting
There are many types of legal forms used outside the court. These forms are most often some type of contract/agreement, will, power of attorney, landlord-tenant notices, demand letters, or forms required by a State, County, or City agency.
Here is a list of common databases you can use to find sample language to help you locate sample forms or language to draft your own legal documents:
- NOLO Legal Information Reference Center Database
- Gale Legal Forms Database
- National Consumer Law Center Database
- Westlaw Database
- Lexis Database
- Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Database
Forms pertaining to a particular government agency or department can usually be located on their website.
Our Research & Motion Guides and Self-Help Center also contain forms and samples of various documents.
Please ask a Reference Librarian if you are having trouble locating samples, as we have many more resources that may help you. Librarians cannot tell you which forms to use or help you fill out forms as it is in violation of our Legal Information Service Policy.
Video: Navigating to State, Local, and Federal Forms