How To Represent Yourself In Court
Thursday Dec 08, 2016 Court
Since the withdrawal of legal aid within family law and the increased difficulty in obtaining public funds even when you would have thought you met the criteria for it more and more people are being forced to represent themselves both in and outside of the Court room.
Whilst representing yourself you will be known as a 'Litigant in Person' or 'Self Represented Party'.You are also permitted to take someone to Court with you to offer support and advice, they are otherwise known as 'McKenzie Friends'. They are not to be used as a substitute for a lack of a solicitor or barrister, they are not legally trained and cannot speak for you, interfere with the proceedings or sign any documents on your behalf, but can simply act as a supportive aid.
What has come to light more recently than ever is the increased services offering legally untrained McKenzie Friends to attend Court with individuals daunted by the Court process. Often these services will be more costly than a solicitor or barrister and as mentioned above are limited in the actual assistance they can give you at Court.
If you are having to represent yourself there is no shame in the feeling of intimidation or confusion by the process. Lawgaps first advice would be to diminish all thoughts of the Court rooms you've seen on your TV and remember that the Family Courts are there to hear both parties sides and assist in coming to the most mutually beneficial resolution. If children are involved, then the matter is even more simple, and is based upon what is is in the best interest of the children alone.
Within many family law proceedings professionals will always try earnestly to come to agreements on areas of the case outside of the Court room. It is always best to try and speak with the other party, negotiate and agree on the direction you want the case to go. If there is anything you are unsure on or you feel you cannot agree to, do not feel you have to, this can be discussed with the Judge when you enter the Court room.
For further support and guidance outside of the Court room you may be wondering where you can turn for affordable advice. The Govornment website offers easy to understand step by step guides to various issues of family law. The BAR council has also produced a guidance for those representing themselves within the court room - http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/media/203109/srl_guide_final_for_online_use.pdf and Lawgap provides you with the essential 'Do It Yourself Packs' for Non Molestation Orders, Occupation Orders, Child Arrangement Orders [which deals with your contact and residence issues], Specific Issue Orders, Parental Responsibility Orders and Divorces. Lawgap also offers further assistance within your Divorce for additional low costs.
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