"In forma pauperis" is a legal term that refers to a person or party involved in a legal proceeding who files a declaration of lack of funds. The court decides whether to grant the applicant a waiver of his court fees, allowing him to continue with the proceeding.
As of 2014, every state in the United States offers in forma pauperis proceedings. To apply, one must submit a form before the first court paper is filed. A hearing to determine the eligibility of the applicant is not necessary, and the court can accept or deny the request. In most jurisdictions, in forma pauperis filings are kept confidential.