A person who represents himself or herself in court is called a “Pro Se” litigant. In most all cases, individuals are entitled to represent themselves “pro se” in litigation regardless of whether they are licensed to practice law. However, in cases filed under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers are required to have a licensed attorney. The below decisions highly the legal reasoning.
Although predecessor to 31 USCS § 3730 permitted private actions, Congress did not intend to authorize laymen to practice law and intended such suit to be carried on in accordance with established procedure requiring that only one licensed to practice law may conduct proceedings in court for anyone other than himself. United States v Onan (1951, CA8 Minn) 190 F2d 1, cert den (1951) 342 US 869, 96 L Ed 654, 72 S Ct 112 and (criticized in United States ex rel. Trice v Westinghouse Hanford Co. (2000, ED Wash) 2000 US Dist LEXIS 8838).
Pro se relator cannot prosecute qui tam action because relator is acting as attorney for government. United States ex rel. Lu v Ou (2004, CA7 Ill) 368 F3d 773, 58 FR Serv 3d 841 (criticized in Shaw v AAA Eng’g & Drafting Inc. (2005, CA10 Okla) 138 Fed Appx 62).
If you are considering becoming a whistleblower, contact Miller Law Group for a free consultation, or call 919-348-4361.