I’ve been involved with a project here in Bristol to try and gather together on a single website basic information and signposting to local resources and useful materials to help litigants in person involved in family proceedings. This week we launched the site, at www.familycourtinfo.org.uk.
This sort of gathering together of information in accessible and navigable format, and in particular of information that is specific to the local area is something that the MoJ or any other government department have singularly failed to do.
It has taken a lot of (unpaid) effort on the part of our small group of lawyers to put this material together, and to get the site right – but ultimately as a result of that free giving of time and expertise we have done it for minimal cost (the main costs have been website hosting and domain registration and costs of printed materials to signpost local court users to the site, and those funds have been raised through sponsorship from the local legal community). None of it was beyond the wit of woman, nor even beyond the combined wit of The Man.
But for all of that carping I am quite proud of the site and I think it will be useful to many litigants in person who are petrified and confused. Not an alternative to a lawyer, but better than nothing.
We hope in due course, through the Transparency Project, to licence a version this site to other Local Family Justice areas, which can be populated with their local information, for a sensible fixed price that we think could be found locally through sponsorship without the need for practitioners to spend their valuable time reinventing the wheel – they will just need to gather the local information. That project is still being worked up, but any expressions of interest can be sent through me.