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"the principal (monthly) periodical dealing with contemporary issues" Sir Mark Potter P
Litigants in person need a clear way to navigate through the court process.
Information should be easy to find, consistent, reliable and user-friendly.
Paperwork and processes should be designed with the layperson in mind.
The physical court environment must help, not hinder, litigants in person.
Litigants in person need the tools to cope with pre-trial negotiations.
Guidance for legal professionals needs universal adoption.
People need more information to make the most of lawyers' services.
Evidence requirements shouldn’t be a barrier to those eligible for legal aid.
The report makes three key recommendations about how courts, professionals and other service providers can address these challenges:
Litigants in person need access to reliable advice and information to determine the validity of their case; investigate alternatives to court; progress their case through different stages; represent themselves effectively and deal with outcomes.
Processes, physical courts and professionals’ behaviour should respond to the increased numbers of litigants in person by ensuring best practice for working with laypeople is provided consistently.
Support for vulnerable people should be more easily accessed. Victims of domestic abuse should be able to access the legal advice and representation to which they are entitled. Other vulnerable groups, such as people with mental health problems, should be signposted to appropriate services.
Standing alone: going to the family court without a lawyer forms part of a programme of work exploring how well the justice system works for the public.The full report is available to download here.