At early common law, a pauper seeking judicial relief prayed to the English Justices in Eyre for a cost-free deliverance. Today, the prayer is the same but the deliverance is provided through in forma pauperis statutes.
In Forma Pauperis Relief- An Endless Road?,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol6/iss1/13