Years ago, I wrote a short guide for the Guardian on how to represent yourself in Court. You can find it here. In the time since then, the number of people representing themselves has gone up, they’re called “litigants in person” and while it’s generally a bad idea if you can avoid it, it struck me that there isn’t enough good information out there for the many people who go down this route, and that many more people are likely to go down this route in the future, particularly in the short term, due to the state of the economy.
It would be helpful for those individuals, for the courts, for the lawyers they face, and for the justice system as a whole if more information was available to assist people who are stuck representing themselves. Often the skills those individuals lack, or the elements they fall down in when it comes to their case, can end up costing them dearly, when just a small amount of assistance or forethought might make the process much smoother and possibly lead to better outcomes for them.
To that end, I am inviting fellow practitioners and anyone who has successfully done this to share their helpful hints and tips, and in my spare time in the coming weeks I will compile them into a simple guide. If you have any advice, tweet it to me, and please the hashtag #HelpLitigants or email firstname.lastname@example.org