Litigants in Person – Access to Justice via the Court Process?
Keywords:LITIGANTS IN PERSON; ACCESS TO JUSTICE; PRO BONO;
Since the enactment of The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, there has been an increase in litigants in person. This is owing to the fact that this Act implemented harsh cuts to legal aid which has made legal aid virtually impossible for many cases within the civil and family courts. Legal aid is still available where there are certain types of documentary evidence that the client has suffered domestic violence. The increase in litigants in person can be seen in a recent comparison of statistics which show that in the financial year of 2012/13, a total of 58% of parties were recorded as having legal representation in private law cases that had at least one hearing. Compared to the financial year of 2017/18, this figure had reduced to only 36% of parties. It could be suggested that as a result of these cuts, many litigants are struggling with their case. Not only are litigants struggling but the civil and family courts are now struggling with the influx of litigants in person. This article will examine whether the concept of justice is achievable by litigants in person. This will be done by firstly explaining what litigants in person are and outlining the issues which they may encounter. The help which litigants in person may experience will then be outlined; this will include the different organisations available to litigants in person and the role of the judiciary. Suggestions for possible reforms aimed at offering more assistance to litigants in person are also made.
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