☰ Revisor of Missouri


Chapter 514

< > Effective - 28 Aug 2018, 2 histories    bottom

  514.040.  Plaintiff may sue as pauper, when — counsel assigned him by court — correctional center offenders, costs — waiver of costs and expenses, when. — 1.  Except as provided in subsection 3 of this section, if any court shall, before or after the commencement of any suit pending before it, be satisfied that the plaintiff is a poor person, and unable to prosecute his or her suit, and pay all or any portion of the costs and expenses thereof, such court may, in its discretion, permit him or her to commence and prosecute his or her action as a poor person, and thereupon such poor person shall have all necessary process and proceedings as in other cases, without fees, tax or charge as the court determines the person cannot pay; and the court may assign to such person counsel, who, as well as all other officers of the court, shall perform their duties in such suit without fee or reward as the court may excuse; but if judgment is entered for the plaintiff, costs shall be recovered, which shall be collected for the use of the officers of the court.

  2.  In any civil action brought in a court of this state by any offender convicted of a crime who is confined in any state prison or correctional center, the court shall not reduce the amount required as security for costs upon filing such suit to an amount of less than ten dollars pursuant to this section.  This subsection shall not apply to any action for which no sum as security for costs is required to be paid upon filing such suit.

  3.  Where a party is represented in a civil action by a legal aid society or a legal services or other nonprofit organization funded in whole or substantial part by moneys appropriated by the general assembly of the state of Missouri, which has as its primary purpose the furnishing of legal services to indigent persons, by a law school clinic which has as its primary purpose educating law students through furnishing legal services to indigent persons, or by private counsel working on behalf of or under the auspices of such society, all costs and expenses, except guardian ad litem fees as provided by this subsection, related to the prosecution of the suit may be waived without the necessity of a motion and court approval, provided that a determination has been made by such society or organization that such party is unable to pay the costs, fees and expenses necessary to prosecute or defend the action, and that a certification that such determination has been made is filed with the clerk of the court.  In the event an action involving the appointment of a guardian ad litem goes to trial, an updated certification shall be filed prior to the trial commencing.  The waiver of guardian ad litem fees for a party who has filed a certification may be reviewed by the court at the conclusion of the action upon the motion of any party requesting the court to apportion guardian ad litem fees.

  4.  Any party may present additional evidence on the financial condition of the parties.  Based upon that evidence, if the court finds the certifying party has the present ability to pay, the court may enter judgment ordering the certifying party to pay a portion of the guardian ad litem fees.

  5.  Any failure to pay guardian ad litem fees shall not preclude a certifying party from filing future suits, including motions to modify, and shall not be used as a basis to limit the certifying party's prosecution or defense of the action.


(RSMo 1939 § 1404, A.L. 1995 H.B. 424, A.L. 1999 S.B. 1, et al., A.L. 2013 H.B. 374 & 434 merged with S.B. 100, A.L. 2018 H.B. 2101)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1240; 1919 § 1692; 1909 § 2261

(1973) Where an order of publication for service of process was found to be a "necessary process" within meaning of this section, relator, proceeding as a poor person, was entitled to issuance of such order and to publication of notice thus required without cost, and payment for such publication should be allowed from county treasury. State ex rel. Taylor v. Clymer (A.), 503 S.W.2d 53.

(1985) An attorney cannot be forced to represent an indigent prison inmate in a medical malpractice action without compensation.  State ex rel. Scott v. Roper (Mo. banc), 688 S.W.2d 757.

(1985) A two stage inquiry is required by this statute. In the first stage the court must determine the plaintiff's eligibility based upon plaintiff's poverty. In the second stage, given the plaintiff's indigency, the court should, using its discretion, examine plaintiff petition to see if it is frivolous or malicious on its face. State ex rel. Coats v. Lewis (Mo.App.) 689 S.W.2d 800.

(2004) Office of state public defender qualifies under section.  State ex rel. Francis v. McElwain, 140 S.W.3d 36 (Mo.banc).

---- end of effective  28 Aug 2018 ----

use this link to bookmark section  514.040

 - All versions
Effective End
514.040 8/28/2018
514.040 8/28/2013 8/28/2018

Click here for the Reorganization Act of 1974 - or - Concurrent Resolutions Having Force & Effect of Law
In accordance with Section 3.090, the language of statutory sections enacted during a legislative session are updated and available on this website on the effective date of such enacted statutory section. Revisor Home    

Other Information
 Recent Sections Editorials May Be Cited As Tables & Forms Multiple Enact
Repeal & Transfer Definitions End Report

Site changes Pictures Contact

Other Links
Legislative Research Oversight MOLIS
Library MO WebMasters
Missouri Senate
State of Missouri
Missouri House