Litigant In Person
Representing yourself may seem to be the only option for some when it comes to bringing or defending a claim. Especially in this age of exorbitant court fees, cut backs to legal aid and increases to the small claims limit.
Judges are required to give some limited guidance and assistance to a Litigant in Person whilst in court. The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary have published a handbook to help Litigants In Person. This can be very useful to a Litigant in Person. Nonetheless, acting as a Litigant in Person can be bit of a legal minefield for most lay people. Particularly if the other party is represented.
During the Radio 4 Moneybox Live programme last week a number of callers who had acted as a Litigant in Person said they would never do it again.
In fact, one caller suggested that if anyone told him they intended to act as a Litigant in Person he would tell them to nail their shoes to the kitchen floor, lace them up and bar the door!
The key message from this discussion was that the benefit of obtaining early advice in any dispute could not be underestimated.
The Pitfalls Of Acting As A Litigant In Person
We represent a number of clients that are involved in significant disputes over poor workmanship by contractors. One such case involved the Claimant acting as Litigant in Person. The other case involved the Defendant acting as Litigant in Person. They both sought legal advice after they started to feel out of their depths.
The upshot is that had they not instructed Kumari Hart Solicitors, the Claimant client may not have obtained expert evidence upon the defects and would most likely have under settled his claim significantly. The Defendant client would not have made a substantial counterclaim which has currently been assessed at above £50,000.
We do understand that not everyone can afford to pay legal fees for representation. However, as a starting point we would suggest that, as many Solicitors offer free no obligation initial consultations, anyone considering acting as a Litigant in Person should take advantage of this. Click here to read more about how we can help individuals.