Real Party in Interest and Representation in Court Proceedings

This information sheet is intended to provide guidance concerning which persons may file civil actions, including landlord-tenant actions.  It is not a substitute for the applicable law and rules and parties will be held to know the requirements of the law.

Unless a party is a single individual representing him or herself or a corporation meeting specified requirements, the Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court require that representation be by an attorney admitted to practice by the State Bar of Arizona.

Single Individuals
A single individual may represent themselves in court. For example, an individual who is the single owner of real property may file and prosecute a landlord-tenant case without an attorney.

Corporations
Rule 31(a)(4)(C) of the Rules of the Supreme Court allows a corporation to be represented in Justice Court by a non-attorney as long as the non-attorney meets the following four conditions:

  1. The person is an officer of the corporation, i.e. president, vice-president, secretary, or treasurer.
  2. The corporation has specifically authorized such officer to present it before such courts.
  3. The representation is not the officer’s primary corporate duty. It has to be incidental or secondary to the other duties relating to the management or operation of the corporation.
  4. The corporation must be an original party to the agreement or occurrence which gave rise to the cause of action or a first assignee or same and the assignment was not for collection purposes.

A copy of the corporate resolution setting forth the above conditions must be filed in each case.

Partnerships
A non-attorney partner may not represent a partnership. Either all partners must sign all pleadings and appear at all court hearings, or the partnership must be represented by an attorney.

Limited Liability Companies (LLC)
A Limited Liability Company is treated the same as a Corporation

Trust
A trustee may not represent a trust.

Complaints filed in non-compliance with the above rules will be dismissed, even if the defendant does not file an answer or appear in court. A party who conducts a case without an attorney is entitled to no more consideration from the court than a party represented by counsel and his held to the same standards expected of a lawyer. Parties desiring more information on this subject should research the law or consult an attorney.

Revised 06/2010

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