When Can Your Company Represent Itself in Court in the State of New Jersey?

By on July 29th, 2013

Posted in New Jersey

In the courts of the State of New Jersey, adult individuals generally may prosecute or defend a civil action in person, however, state law generally prohibits any business entity other than a sole proprietorship from appearing in any court action in the State except through an attorney authorized to practice law in New Jersey.

Rule 1:21-1(c) prohibits, (With specific exceptions), a business entity other than a sole propriety from appearing or filing any paper “…in any action in any court of this State except through an attorney authorized to practice law in this State.”  Therefore, corporations must be represented in court by counsel. See Globe Media Grp., LLC v. Cisneros, 403 N.J. Super. 574, 577 (App. Div. 2008); Olympic Indus. Park v. P.L., Inc., 208 N.J. Super. 577, 580-81 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 104 N.J. 453, 517 (1986).  Rule 1:21(c) extends to all legal proceedings and, as such, requires corporations to be represented by counsel at mediations as well.

The limited exceptions contained in the rule represent the full extent of conditions in which a business entity may appear pro se, including:  R. 1:21-1A (professional corporations for the practice of law); R. 1:21-1B (limited liability companies for the practice of law); R. 1:21-1C (limited liability partnerships for the practice of law); R. 6:11 (appearances in small claims actions); R. 7:6-2(a) (pleas in municipal court); R. 7:8-7(a) (presence of defendant in municipal court); and by R. 7:12-4(d) (municipal court violations bureau).

This paragraph of the rule makes clear that any entity, regardless of its purpose or organization, must be represented in court by an attorney.  The bar on lay representation of corporations extends to all business entities other than those specifically listed in, and in all circumstances but for, those listed.  Such circumstances include when a plaintiff or defendant is a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, etc., and the claim is less than $3,000 (R. 6:11), when a partner in a general partnership is appearing pro se in a summary action for the possession of a premises (R. 6:10), and when a party is a Federal Government agency (R. 1:21-1(d)).

If your company has been sued or your company wishes to bring suit in the State of New Jersey you must contact an attorney to represent your company’s interests.

Multiple locations to better serve your needs—

Princeton, NJ

993 Lenox Dr, Building 2
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
Phone: 609.896.9060
Secondary phone: 800.535.3425
Fax: 609.896.0629
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Marlton, NJ

40 Lake Center, 401 NJ-73, Suite 130
Marlton, NJ 08053
Phone: 856.874.4443
Secondary phone: 888.241.7424
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Yardley, PA

777 Township Line Road, Suite 120
Yardley, PA 19067
Phone: 267.907.9600
Fax: 267.907.9659
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New York, NY

5 Pennsylvania Plaza 23rd Floor
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 800.535.3425
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Philadelphia, PA

The Bellevue 200 S Broad St #600
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 267.907.9600
Secondary phone: 800.535.3425
Fax: 215.564.6245
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Bridgeton, NJ

78 W Broad St
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Phone: 856.874.4443
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