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Litigants in person – some hope for the future?

24 October 2014

There has been a very significant rise in the number of Litigants in Person (LiPs) in all areas of law; a report recently showing that the number of family law cases where both parties were represented fell by nearly 40% in April to June 2014 compared to the same quarter the previous year. The lack of entitlement to legal aid has been the main factor leading to this.

In the defendant personal injury realm, we have seen a surge in the number of unrepresented claimants. This can mean cases take longer to deal with and at hearings, judges can be forced to intervene to explain the process.

Simon Hughes yesterday launched a £1.4 million initiative of expanding Personal Support Units (PSUs) from eight courts to allow them to link LiPs with pro-bono lawyers who can offer legal support and court representation.

Whilst not solving every issue, this will help claimants and defendants. Continuity of advice means a smooth running case which shortens its life span; whether this initiative will bring down costs is questionable, but anything which works towards this is to be welcomed.

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