Intructions: Responding to Order to Show Cause
Respond to the Court’s Order. The Court’s Order to Show Cause will tell you what information
the Court needs. Each Order to Show Cause is different.
Finalize the Response. Read the Response to make sure it is complete and correct. Sign and date.
Prepare the Certificate of Service. Each document that you file must be “served” on each other
party, usually by sending it in the mail. Follow the instructions on the Certificate of Service.
FILING AND SERVING YOUR RESPONSE
1. Make copies. Once the documents are complete, make three copies of each. On one copy of the
documents, write “Chambers” on the top in pen. (If there is more than one plaintiff or defendant,
you will also need one copy for each of them.)
2. File the Response. Deliver or mail the original plus two copies of the Response and Certificate of
Service to the Clerk’s Office at the federal courthouse where the Judge for your case is located.
The Clerk will take the original and the copy marked “Chambers.” The other copy is for you to
keep after it is stamped by the Clerk. If you file by mail, include a self-addressed, stamped
envelope so that the Clerk can send copies back to you.
3. Serve the Response. Be sure that the Response and Certificate are served on each party.
STAY UP TO DATE
1. Update your contact information. File a notice with the Clerk right away if your address, email,
or phone number changes, or you may miss important deadlines, causing you to lose your case.
2. Check your mail. Be sure to check regularly for documents from the Court and opposing side.
3. A list of all of the documents that have been filed, and (usually) the documents themselves can be
viewed online. See Chapter 7 of the Handbook for Pro Se Litigants (see below), and contact the
Legal Help Center for information about how to access the documents (see page 1).
UNDERSTANDING THE LAWS AND RULES
The Legal Help Centers (see page 1) are the best resource for people without lawyers. There are other
resources for understanding the laws and rules of the Court:
1. Handbook for Pro Se Litigants. The Handbook is a procedural guide for people who are
representing themselves. It was prepared by the Court and is available at the Clerk’s Office or on
the Court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov/prosehandbk.
2. Legal Research Guide for Pro Se Litigants. The Guide provides information for people who are
representing themselves about how to do legal research, like finding statutes and decisions in
other cases. It was prepared by the Justice & Diversity Center and is available at the Legal Help
Centers and at http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/Legal-Help-Center-Templates.
3. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. These Rules explain the procedures from filing through trial
for all civil cases in the federal courts across the country, and are available at
4. Local Rules. The Local Rules apply in this District only, and are available at