HAINES v. KERNER, ET AL. 404 U.S. 519, 92 S. Ct. 594, 30 L. Ed. 2d 652. Whatever may be the limits on the scope of inquiry of courts into the internal administration of prisons, allegations such as those asserted by petitioner, however inartfully pleaded, are sufficient to call for the opportunity to offer supporting evidence. We cannot say with assurance that under the allegations of the pro se complaint, which we hold to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, it appears "beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). See Dioguardi v. Durning, 139 F.2d 774 (CA2 1944).
ESTELLE, CORRECTIONS DIRECTOR, ET AL. v. GAMBLE 29 U.S. 97, 97 S. Ct. 285, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251. We now consider whether respondent's complaint states a cognizable 1983 claim. The handwritten pro se document is to be liberally construed. As the Court unanimously held in Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), a pro se complaint, "however inartfully pleaded," must be held to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers" and can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears "beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Id., at 520-521, quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957).
WILLIAM MCNEIL, PETITIONER v. UNITED STATES 113 S. Ct. 1980, 124 L. Ed. 2d 21, 61 U.S.L.W. 4468. Moreover, given the clarity of the statutory text, it is certainly not a "trap for the unwary." It is no doubt true that there are cases in which a litigant proceeding without counsel may make a fatal procedural error, but the risk that a lawyer will be unable to understand the exhaustion requirement is virtually nonexistent. Our rules of procedure are based on the assumption that litigation is normally conducted by lawyers. While we have insisted that the pleadings prepared by prisoners who do not have access to counsel be liberally construed, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976), and have held that some procedural rules must give way because of the unique circumstance of incarceration, see Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988) (pro se prisoner's notice of appeal deemed filed at time of delivery to prison authorities), we have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel. As we have noted before, "in the long run, experience teaches that strict adherence to the procedural requirements specified by the legislature is the best guarantee of evenhanded administration of the law." Mohasco Corp. v. Silver, 447 U.S. 807, 826 (1980).
BALDWIN COUNTY WELCOME CENTER v. BROWN 466 U.S. 147, 104 S. Ct. 1723, 80 L. Ed. 2d 196, 52 U.S.L.W. 3751. Rule 8(f) provides that " pleadings shall be so construed as to do substantial justice." We frequently have stated that pro se pleadings are to be given a liberal construction.
HUGHES v. ROWE ET AL. 449 U.S. 5, 101 S. Ct. 173, 66 L. Ed. 2d 163, 49 U.S.L.W. 3346. Petitioner's complaint, like most prisoner complaints filed in the Northern District of Illinois, was not prepared by counsel. It is settled law that the allegations of such a complaint, "however inartfully pleaded" are held "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). See also Maclin v. Paulson, 627 F.2d 83, 86 (CA7 1980); French v. Heyne, 547 F.2d 994, 996 (CA7 1976). Such a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Haines, supra, at 520-521. And, of course, the allegations of the complaint are generally taken as true for purposes of a motion to dismiss. Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322 (1972).