Press Release from the Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau
The Art of Self Defence is written by a Guardian Journalist. It is an interesting piece covering Heather Mill's efforts as Litigant In Person and the general view on representation. It is worth a read.
Legal aid is only available to the select few. Increasing individuals have no other option but to litigate themselves. The law and the courts are both complicated. For the novice it is almost like a maze and a uphill struggle.
We therefore aim to create a resource website for people so there is a even playing field when they represent themselves in court.
What is a Litigant in Person
A litigant in person (in propria persona or in pro per) is someone who is engaged in litigation without legal representation. Since they are conducting the case themselves they are usually at a disadvantage when facing professionally qualified adversaries. Bar etiquette requires that, in court, opposing counsel should ensure that litigants in person are aware of what is happening during the hearing and any results of the hearing.
The main reason for people deciding to act in person is that they cannot afford the legal fees. Other reasons include: unwilling to pay the legal fees - unusual if the case is important to them belief that they can do a better job than a lawyer need to control the course of their case vexatious litigant unable to retain lawyer desirous of personally cross-examining witnesses
In some jurisdictions the litigant in person is entitled to bring a friend into court to provide assistance. In the UK this person is known as a McKenzie Friend.