Guide for litigants in person 2017-01-27T09:10:56+00:00

Guide for Litigants in Person

People representing themselves are termed ‘Litigants in Person’ (LiPs). The advice below has been offered by LiPs who have used our services, contributions from public bodies, and from information in the public domain. To contribute to this area please contact info@kidatu.co.uk

  • Try to resolve your differences without litigation, going to court is stressful, time consuming, frustrating and not without cost. Try sending a ‘letter before action’ spelling out your case and giving the other side the opportunity to settle.
  • Before considering taking action, review your own capacity and resilience. Can you cope with the workload and the stress that inevitably accompanies contentious proceedings? You will need to be determined, organised and thick skinned.
  • Decide what you are trying to achieve, litigation may not be the best way to achieve it. ADR (Alternative or Appropriate Dispute Resolution) is a group of services such as mediation and conciliation which aim to help parties settle their differences. The ASA (Advice Services Alliance) is an umbrella organisation for advice networks, some of whom offer ADR. The ASA’s website provides information on all types of ADR as well as links to many advice agencies such as CAB (Citizen’s Advice Bureau), National debtline and Advice now. To help resolve family issues see Resolution.
  • Check all of your insurance policies, particularly home insurance, it may include legal cover. If it does, contact the insurance company as soon as possible. If they appoint a lawyer, help them to help you by following the advice below.
  • If you don’t have insurance but can afford one consultation with a solicitor, consider using it to draft the content of your claim. Your claim needs to be right from the outset, changing it is a lengthy process and will raise questions.
  • One would normally instruct a solicitor to deal with the entirety of your case, however, in order to minimise cost, many solicitors will give tactical advice on a point of law or procedure.
  • You can also instruct a barrister either via a solicitor, or directly, thanks to the Public Access Scheme.
  • You can minimise the costs of any consultation by following the do’s and don’ts below.
  • Do: Document the points of your case in chronological order.
  • Do: Preserve all evidence however insignificant it seems, it may be valuable to confirm or deny a statement made by the other side.
  • Don’t: Gloss over unpalatable aspects of your case, they will have to be dealt with.
  • Do: Review your case very critically, the other side will.
  • Do: Tell any advisor or lawyer everything, warts and all.
  • Do: Research the law surrounding your particular case, you can’t possibly learn all of the nuances, but an understanding of the key principals of the area of law you’re hoping to exploit is essential, and will prevent costly mistakes.
  • Don’t: forget local libraries, many can obtain books from other libraries for you at very little cost. This link is to the first chapter of Employment Tribunal Claims, the first few pages describe the road ahead for anyone considering litigation, whatever the area of law.
  • Do: Read the Civil Procedure Rules, falling foul of them could jeopardise your case.
  • Do: Visit the court or tribunal who will hear your case well in advance. Court staff are very accommodating and will let you know when a similar case to yours is being heard.
  • Don’t: Rely on the Judge to know everything. Judges preside over cases in all areas of law, part of a lawyers value is that they specialise, and can remind all parties of relevant legislation or case law.
  • Do: Send copies of everything you send to the court, to the other side. Failing to do so will prolong proceedings.