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Be flexible when dealing with litigants in person

Facing an unrepresented party in court is becoming the norm rather than an exception for some solicitors; Beth Forrester provides guidance for handling this situation

6 August 2015

Are you a gymnast? You might be more of one than you think if you're an advocate - balancing your duty to your client and the court is one thing but the balancing act is becoming even harder. This is because solicitors are increasingly facing an opponent who is not another solicitor, nor a legal executive or barrister, but a litigant in person (LiP).

Many imagine that people decide to litigate in person because they have failed to accept the advice of the all-knowledgeable lawyers. However, due to the legal aid cuts - which have drastically changed the landscape in the civil and family courts - LiPs are on the increase and in some areas are (anecdotally) becoming the norm rather than the exception.

There are very important questions which solicitors facing an LiP need to answer, such as, 'How must I act?' Such is the awareness about the impact of LiPs that guidance was published ear...

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