DIY Forms are free and easy guided step by step computer programs that ask the litigant a series of questions then use the answers to prepare personalized court forms that are ready to serve and file. Some programs identify issues and produce information sheets. The New York State Courts Access to Justice Program oversees the development of these programs in an effort to help unrepresented litigants navigate the court system.
DIY Forms can be used by:
- a court user who doesn't have a lawyer;
- a legal services provider;
- a pro bono lawyer. Pro bono lawyers filing a DIY Form must submit thispro bono affirmation.
- a lawyer from a low-bono (reduced fee) program recognized and authorized to use the DIY Form programs by the NYS Courts Access to Justice Program. This low-bono affirmation must be submitted with the filing. To request permission to use the DIY Form program, email DCAJ-OJI@nycourts.gov.
DIY Forms are available on the internet on CourtHelp and in many courthouse clerk's offices and help centers throughout the state.
The NYS Courts Access to Justice Program has created videos promoting DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Forms starring Unified Court System personnel. The videos explain how litigants in New York State can easily use free DIY Form programs to make the court papers they need without hiring an attorney.
The New York State Courts Access to Justice Program has published a Document Assembly Programs Best Practices Guide for Court System Development and Implementation Using A2J Author. The Guide is a tool for other court systems interested in producing self-help document assembly programs that generate court forms for low-income unrepresented litigants.