Litigants in Person – the horror!

Nicola Williams & Co published a thoughtful article on Flawbord earlier this week about the difficulties caused by and to litigants in person through their inability to secure legal advice and representation: Horrendous. Amongst other things the article looks at publicly available stats on the numbers of cases, noting along the way that those published stats don't "tell us ... how many of those were dealt with without a solicitor or other representative." No, they don't, but I know where you can get 'em, because I extracted them under the Freedom of Information Act and subsequently wrote a blog post about the resulting statistical tables.

And reading the post on Flawbord this week has prompted me to go back to HMCTS / the MOJ to call them out on their promise to publish updating stats on 12 Jan via another FOI request. Watch this space for news as to whether or not the numbers of LiPs rose between July 11 and Sep 11.

What do we think people? "Higher! Higher!" Brucey bonus if I'm right.

Family Courts Without a Lawyer: A Handbook for Litigants in Person

These are dark days for many of us financially speaking. And securing legal advice and representation when relationships break down is only going to become tougher - there are swingeing cuts to legal aid looming, and few people have money to spend on lawyers.

doors closed

doors closed - well, windows anyway

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It's tough enough dealing with relationship breakdown, and tougher still trying to navigate the family courts on your own, trying to make head or tail of the law and legal process without a lawyer to explain things to you. This post is to inform those of you who can't afford a lawyer or can't get legal aid that I am writing a book which will hopefully make things a little bit more comprehensible, a little bit easier. It's not quite ready yet, but will be published in 2011 - you can pre-order the book via Amazon: Family Courts without a Lawyer: A Handbook for Litigants in Person.
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In the meantime, there is still time to let me know what topics you would like to see this book cover, or to send me your own pointers or any resources that you found invaluable. You can do that by posting a comment to this entry.
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And of course it would be remiss of me to end without thanking the Alexander Maxwell Law Scholarship Trust whose assistance has made this handbook possible, along with David Chaplin at Bath Publishing.

Privacy Law Change Shelved

As heralded here the implementation of the CSFA 2010 reforms has been shelved pending the report of the Family Justice Review Committee in the autumn of 2011 (The MoJ website summarises the announcement here).
Which is odd, because the terms of reference of that committee relate only to system and process and specifically exclude making recommendations about substantive law. And I quote (the Review's own summary of its remit):

The Review will:

  • examine both public and private law cases
  • explore if better use can be made of mediation and how best to support contact between children and non-resident parents or grandparents
  • examine the processes (but not the law) involved in granting divorces and awarding ancillary relief, and
  • look at how the different parts of the family justice system are organised and managed.

So I'm not really sure what waiting for the review committee's report is going to achieve. But then I suppose if it recommends abolition of large chunks of family proceedings as we know them, the Act will become largely redundant. Either way, I would wager the sections of the CSFA 2010 bearing upon publication of information in family proceedings will go the way of much of the FLA 1996 (never brought into force).

Previous posts on the CSFA 2010 can be found by clicking here.