The Court of Appeal today indicated that “more help” was needed for litigants in person. Here we look at the guidance that exists.
LORD JUSTICE MOORE-BICK OBSERVED TODAY:
- The Civil Procedure Rules are available free on line on the web site of the Ministry of Justice and to that extent are widely available. What the ordinary person requires, however, is more help in discovering and understanding the rules and some basic guidance about the way in which proceedings should be conducted. If, as seems inevitable, the courts can expect to see an increasing number of litigants in person, assistance of that kind will become essential if the administration of justice is not to be undermined
GUIDANCE THAT ALREADY EXISTS
- Six Circuit judges have already written a useful Guide for Litigants in person available free of charge on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary website
- The Bar Council has a Guide to Representing Yourself in Court
- John Bolch, writing on Stowe Family Law Blog, has a guide to Helping Litigants in Person
- Thanks to Peter Farr of the Civil Justice Council who (in the comments section below) links to the Civil Justice Council Guide to Bringing and Defending a Small Claim.
There are several books and guides for litigants in person and representing yourself.
THIS NEED FOR HELP AND GUIDANCE APPLIES TO CLIENTS AS WELL
In the research done on stress in the litigation process (for litigants) one of the key reasons for stress was
“3. Clearer dissemination of information about the litigation process to claimants.”
There is a need for litigants, with and without representation, to understand the legal process. With fixed fees; lawyers often not actually meeting their clients coupled with other pressures of practice this is something that may be being overlooked. This may form part of an interesting project (after Christmas).