How to stop litigants in person going mad: more funds needed

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  • We are absolutely disgusted with the argument put forward from some of the lawyers who, according to your article above, claim that draconian measures must be taken to prevent litigants in person to represent themselves thus to seek justice in the courts. How do you judge what claim is spurious unless you consider the all circumstances of a case? This would no doubt suit the lawyers as most of them are borderline fraud who has no interest in satisfying justice but lining their own pocket! No wonder the general public have no respect to legal profession and feel that they are all scams! The litigants in person is still considered being a nuisance despite the fact that most of them are forced in to litigation to defend themselves one way or another. On the other hand so called independent bodies such as Bar Council as well as Solicitors Complaint Authority are only interested in supporting the legal profession hence there is no way that any one who has any complaint about a corrupt judge, inept solicitor or abusive Counsel can get anwhere. You can perhaps reseach to see how many cases that were represented by the Litigants in Person have actually been won by them, I tell you: it is extremely rare. Because the Litigants in person has been considered as a handicap, easy target, a nuisance. A bias judge will make a deliberate bias decision and he/she has no come back and will not be accountable in any way. If you do not like the judge's decision, bad luck! you either have to spend thousands of pounds to appeal to the High Court or put up with the injustice. Tell me what chance the litigants in person have under the circumstances? Despite the CPR rules where a corrupt or bias judge can easily bend the rules how on earth the Litigants in person's rights are protected?

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  • Bonkers? Pathalogical? And a downward spiral to nowhere? A genuine LinP struggling to come to terms with rules and procedures which appear to have greater merit than the hard documentary evidence when being forced to defend oneself without any form of help at all against a company and their legal team, do not really need to know that they are regarded as annoying nuisances.

    Some of us have no choice but to defend ourselves instead of rolling over and playing dead when faced with manifestly unjust and completely unmeritous abusive threats lacking in any evidentiary basis and devoid of any purported pre-action protocol.

    In defence of our most fundamentally basic of human rights purported to be equally applicable to all - unless you are unfortunate enough to live in the second poorest Ward of one of the top LAs to be affected by deep recession, a LinP then finds themselves launched into an alien and hostile environment where truth and justice appears to count for little against tactical abuse of process by over paid legal teams whose sole aim is to win at all costs irrespective of justice.

    The word overriding objective springs to mind, conjuring up images of scales adorning that icon representing blindfold justice. Equal footing? Against a well paid legal team with years of experience of litigation and an arsenal of dirty tricks stored in the sleeves of their billowing silken gowns. I do not think so!

    Expeditiously and fairly based on merits? When alien procedural rules appear to count more than the scales of true justice.

    LinP racking up unnecessary costs and clogging court time up? Reality check time. The legal team will in reality send you a bundle, a copy of the original bundle and an ensuing letter to tell you that the bundle of the bundle of the bundle will be waiting for you in Court for an Interim Hearing to force disclosure of information already disclosed through standard discovery process. Then have the audacity to expect you to pay for the bundle of the bundle of the bundle and the letter and forced hearing to rediscover what they have already discovered!

    A bundle and a bundle and a bundle for a hearing to Order disclosure of what has already been disclosed??? This is not construed as clogging court time up and racking up unnecessary costs then? In comparison to a LinP who might take a few minutes more to understand what is actually required of them to comply to the best of their ability with procedural rules, in spite of a LiP being forced to spend in excess of 40 hours per week studying whilst trying to juggle and maintain their ordinary work and family commitments.

    Obviously from the actual success rate of LinP - it has nothing to do with true justice but is simply a game of tactical posturing against an ordinary citizen who cannot hope to compete on an equal footing monetary or knowledge wise, and with total disregard of the truth irrespective of the weight of hard documentary evidence on the side of the LinP.

    Oddly enough I am perhaps foolhardy enough to still believe in true justice and the principles of public policy. As a LinP I hope I am not mistaken in that belief!

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  • As a practising lawyer I wish to disassociate myself from this article. Not every litigant in person is an obsessive: I believe very few are.

    LIPs run meritorious claims and defences, and lawyers run unmeritorious ones.

    Why should any additional hurdle be placed in the way of those who cannot afford a lawyer?

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  • At this precise moment in time I am heartened by the post from Gabor as my fundamental belief in British justice, equal footing and impartiality (as such existed) has been crushed.

    The Part 18 Application for discovery of what has been discovered has just been granted at Case Management Conference, scheduled for one hour which also dealt with the two totally unnecessary Interim Applications of the Claimant. C stated himself he needed 2-3 hours to deal with it but FORGOT to apply to Court for new date for disposal.

    Time given: 45 minutes C barrister, 5 minutes each defendant, 10 minutes Master, 10 minutes barister and Master arguing among themselves. Not sure what actually happened to CMC scheduled for one hour. ALL Directions Orders have been varied to allow the C time to respond (he has known of and responded to well publicised antiquted statements since 21 Sept 2006) and while we have to amend our defences, the 33 page claim consisting of 51 unspecific and vague allegations inclusive of 18 repeats, stays unaltered despite substantive case law stating precision is essential for facts relied upon.

    C has rearranged entire court timetable to suit and still left defence looking for needle in haystack, no matter how many amendments. Of course tactically when before a High Court judge in June the defence will be pleaded as being defective thus achieving a default judgement, because the C is pertrified of arriving at a trial by jury stage and in all probability will win at preventing the case being heard on its evidential merits.

    This is the true British justice and equality for LinP. A chronically sick and penniless pensioner co-defendant with a wife unfortunate enough to have suferred from cancer, between them looking after an aged parent, being awarded costs in case of £4200.55, despite the C suffering a power cut and being quite unable to serve costs in accordance with CPR, for what was a totally unnecessary rushed through and hogged 15 minute hearing which was allowed to take over the CMC to our detriment!

    Haven't a clue where my £4200.55 is coming from, never been in debt in my entire life - I am in deep debt now through trying to defend my home and peaceful enjoyment of my home. What a laugh - the C has spent the entire day harassing me. Still big business with a big bucks legal team can do exactly as they choose, quite obviously above the law, criminally and civilly in contrast to the ordinary citizen.

    Most helpful suggestion the Master could give after taking into consideration one side only without due regard to overriding objective. Get a solicitor - a basic one costs more per hour than our subsistance household income per week. Suggestion Two Batleys Law on Libel - cost £360 - how helpful!

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  • Every time I find myself in hospital visiting a sick friend or relative, I find myself thinking that most doctors have never suffered a serious illness, and that perhaps a non-fatal, yet very frightening one, should be visited upon them in training at some point, so that they can empathise with their patients throughout their career.

    Perhaps lawyers in training should spend sometime as an LinP to get a feel for what it feels like to be on the other end of a major law firm using every manoeuvre available to it - often, it seems, with the compliance of the judiciary.

    Our system simply isn't set up for LinPs, and actually, in a Common Law system, the task gets more and more difficult every year as new precedents pile up offering alternative interpretations of the subleties of the law.

    Having been on the wrong/fiery end of LinPs, I can appreciate how mad some of them can be, but I often wonder whether most lawyers, especially those in large firms, have the slightest idea just how difficult and frustrating it is for non-lawyers to navigate their way around a system which often seems bent on delivering pain, delay and cost rather than justice.

    Perhaps time to reconsider funding of the RCJCAB to beef it up a bit?

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  • There is a desperate need to incorporate some sort of system for GENUINE LinPs where they can receive proper representation based on the true merits of their case, in particular where Legal Aid is not available for the alleged tort.
    It was recognised in Steel & Morris v United Kingdom 2005 that lack of procedural fairness to LinPs violated Articles 6 and 10 of ECHR, yet nothing positive has been done to restore this fundamental inequality in the system.
    I well understand how the frustration can spill out when faced with not only preparing the case for trial but also complying with CPR, Case Mnagement, Directions Orders, costs etc etc - all alien and hostile territory to have to understand and deal with on top of bundles, evidence, copying, postage etc on a shoe string budget. THEN to arrive at a painstakingly prepared for hearing to find your well versed adversaries who had no reasonable excuse and should have known better has dumped documents on you at the actual hearing which you have not had previous access to or been given.
    This kind of tactical abuse of process against a LinP destroys any strongly held belief in the fairness and equality of the judicial system.
    As a LinP and despite the overwhelming weight of evidence amassed over the past four years, I fully expect to lose against experienced litigators tactical abuse, but had no other option but to defend myself.
    What has become evidentially clear over this antiquated claim 'clogging up the Court system' and for the four years preceeding commencement, is as an ordinary law abiding and honest citizen and irrespective of what ECHR tells me on paper, I have absolutely no right to protect or enjoy my own home or speak in defence of that right.
    If my adversarial and experienced litigation friends are successful then I will also be denied the right to a fair hearing based on evidential merit.
    Oddly enough if I had been a criminal or a thug who had never tried to make any contribution at all to society then I would have been privy to a legal team to defend me, a bus trip away in my local feeder Court and no suddenly imposed debt.
    Welcome to the real world of a genuine LinP clogging up the Courts in the slim glimmer of hope truth and justice might just count for something after all.
    But I seriously doubt it!

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  • I have been a LinP for several years now pursuing a medical negligence claim. I represented myself and had the misfortune to end up before a judge who had a 'personal interest' in my case. It was ten years ago when this judge reserved his judgment and I'm still waiting for a judgment to be handed down in open court. I have a draft judgment and that's it. Despite the fact that the court own records show that this is the case and that a judge in the same court has confirmed that this is the case the HM Court Service in Sheffield refuse to remedy the situation. I now find myself with enough fresh evidence to appeal the judge's findings of fact in the draft judgment but can't appeal because I have nothing to appeal.

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  • Here's the flip side of this argument:

    There is nothing worse than a greedy and incompetent solicitor who cannot see past the big fat cheque. This breed of litigator usually has a knack for quick re-assurance and utterance of legal buzz words that have no meaning in the context used. They will usually sail the ship into stormy waters and you soon realise they don't really give a damn about how your case progresses and have not even taken the trouble to aquaint themselves with the finer details of said case. You are left cringeing in your seat listening to substandard advocacy and realise you could have done a better job yourself and been a lot less poor at the end of it.

    There are too many sharks in this game and picking one up is all too easy. It tends to lead to loss of trust (who can you trust in this game?) at which point the LinP drops the expensive "professional" and goes it alone.

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  • It seems that the only ones who think that the UK justice system is a good one is those who have never been involved in it.

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  • My own experience was that I had five (later six) solid defences against the deceitful eviction into homelessness action of myself a seriously ill harassment victim. A barrister and judgess colluded in concocting 35 false excuses, cheap lies not even anything clever. 35/35 against the unrepresented defendant, fluke odds 1 in 3 billion. The judgess then refused permission to appeal "~because aye think aye'm right (haha)~". Then here "honourable" colleagues sealed the matter closed with a couple more lies. Office of Judical Complaints said I should send to police instead, so I began my letter to police saying just that. Months later police wrote a reply consisting entirely of five errors, in particular that I should refer to the OJC instead (who re-confirmed they were wrong). No one above the law? Clearly not even flying pigs. www.2020housing.co.uk ECtHR application 5604/08. The UK "justice" system, the most evil institution in the land.

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  • @ Paul Heathcote

    You need to send your complaint to the Office for Judicial Complaints, not to HM Courts Service. It is the OJC that has jurisdiction over a judge not HMCS.

    Write a letter setting out how long you have been waiting for the formal judgement and ask the OJC to intervene.

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  • Having just represented myself in a judicial review oral permission hearing at the RCJ, I am left with a sense of contempt for the Court's obvious bias against LIPs. My case was not a difficult one, dealing in very clear and elementary concepts of law. But my argument was ignored. The hearing was a sham. I'd like to know how many times in the history of the Court a LIP has ever beaten a QC in argument, regardless of the real merits of the LIP's claim. I suspect it is a tiny number. The LIP is set up to fail by the system regardless of the merits of their case. Yet another injustice has been swept under the dusty old judicial carpet. I simply cannot afford to risk an appeal, and have been hit with 5000 pounds in costs.

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  • Some of the comments above justify the article 100%. In any case there is going to be a winner and a loser. Trouble is some losers cannot accept that the problem is their case and decide that they must have lost because of fraud. Hence the vexatious litigants in the article.

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  • The position of LiPs is a no brainer.
    Litigation is a two horse race. Lawyers are the pro jockey ridden horses. LiPs are the donkeys.

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  • The two anonymooses above are typical of the blinkered arrogance that passes for expertise in the legal profession. I pity their clients (for they are probably lawyers).

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  • Nice topic and comments a
    Litigants in person should, unless they have good
    reason for not doing so:
    (1) prepare a written summary of their argument in the same circumstances as those in which a represented party is required to produce a skeleton argument;
    (2) prepare a bundle of documents in the same way that a represented party is required to produce a bundle of documents; and
    (3) be prepared to put forward their argument within a limited time if they are directed to do so by the court.
    [url=http://www.city-lawyers.co.uk]Car Accident Lawyer[/url]
    This means that litigants in person should identify in advance of the hearing those points which they consider to be their strongest points, and that they should put those points at the forefront of their oral and written submissions to the court.

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  • I am currently a Litigant in Person. I have no choice. I am being sued and I do not have the money to defend myself. I made a mistake before the directions hearing because instead of giving me the case management information 7 days before the lawyers for the claimant ambushed me with 40 pages on |Tuesday, 60 pages on Wednesday and another 40 on Thursday at 4 pm when the hesring was at 10 am on the Friday 250 miles away. I was on the phone to the court all week who told me that at 4pm on Thursday they had not had the Case management informstion. It was decided that there was no way the judge could hear it in 30 minutes and I would make a round trip of 500 miles for a case to be adjourned. I therefore, made the appropriate applications and wrote a letter explaining and asked to be excused. Result. Judge gave them everything they asked for. Lawyer quoted me £5-6000 to have that set aside and draft a new defense and counterclaim. Within 5 weeks I'd spent £16,000 and when they wanted £2,000 to type a document list I took it back and defended myself at Leeds Mercantile Court for the Liability Hearing. Once again I was stitched up by the lawyers. They gave me a sketchy Bundle index and I couldn't tell what of my defence was in it. When the bundle arrived at 2pm on Friday befiore the Monday hearing, it was poorly indexed and the little of my defence that was in there was scattered randomly in a file of 500 pages of rubbish. It took me 34 hours to index it and cross reference it and create my own bundle of the missing evidence. Their barrister turned up late and unprepared expecting me to have no defence. He actually put that on his skeleton argument. The result was that the hearing was adjourned at my request. They are running up costs of £100,000 fro a £190,000 claim which is not valid. If it were valid it would be around £25,000 but they have been warned that even if they win liability and are found not to be entitled to damages that they will not get costs. Never-the-less they continue - largely driven by the conditional fee lawyer who is seriously taking this personally and sends me personal attacks and threats under the heading of without prejudice. Am I a nuisance to the court. Possibly. The judge was extremely fair and patient but what on earth am I supposed to do if I can't defend myself. These people almost bankrupt me. The person who sold me the franchise didn't even own it - He is a disqualified director until 2012. When I refused to continue because I could no longer even afford to put diesel in my car, they sued me for £190,000 future lost profits despite putting another franchisee in my territory. So the question for me is not, how to stop Litigants in Person but How to stop con men using the legal system to further destroy their victims.

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  • In my experience I found that qualified legal representatives dont play fair or follow the rules. I have conducted serveral cases on my own and in my experience the solicitors representing the other party could not comply with court order..... So its not all about being legally qualified... its how you present your case.

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  • This site is designed to assist all LiP's.
    But we also need all of your help!

    http://bit.ly/help4lips

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  • As has been said, the above posts prove the point the article is raising.
    (1) The public seem genuinely to believe that lawyers don't actually do anything. Despite years of training and years of experience that a qualified litigator or advocate would have, the general gist seems to be that you are equal in ability to this if you read a forum on the internet.
    (2) The public also have this idea that the judge is the big mummy or daddy there to look at the case and find "justice". They simply don't grasp that this is an adversarial system with a neutral umpire in which a party can (and should) take whatever advantage they see as possible.
    On any court forms sent to litigants in person they should spell these things out:-
    "Dear litigant. 1.Law is complicated. It is supposed to be and it has to be. If you don't understand it, it is not a conspiracy against you because the judge used to play golf with the father or someone who used to work in the hospital you were employed at. 2. The judge isn't - and is not supposed to be "on your side""

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  • The last comment is a ridiculously prejudiced little tirade most likely written by a lawyer.

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  • Pretty easy to read the self-serving lawyers comments here ey. Apart from that I empathize with everybody else here. Justice is a joke and the CYJCSS or whatever u call it should be funded BILLIONS as is Social Services for they are the most vexatious litigants on earth.

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  • Is there any remedy for justice as a LIT who had the judge against them from the word go and who awarded punitive costs even though the LIT (claimant) has never had a case before and was suing his letting and management agent who didn't bother to look after his property, but favoured the Tenant who was obviously a friend at least. Basically her ruling said that agents have no responsibility to ensure the tenants obey their obligations and can fail to account for monies received should they please. What can we do about this obvious injustice...or am I just naive in thinking that British courts were interested in dispensing justice and holding professionals to a standard?

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  • Where are all the mentions of the successful pre-action protocol settlements for Litigants in Person?
    Or aren't there any?

    Perhaps it is simply in my imagination but I would suggest that when it comes to the pre-action protocol brought by LitPs, the guidance is completely disregarded by the defendants, outright denials are the norm, and, to be honest, you are lucky if they even get read.

    LitPs are then forced into courts and are accused of clogging up the system?

    Perhaps the courts should take another look at how the pre-action system is being approached by defendants in LitP cases and ensuring that responses are as directed rather than simply being used as a delaying tactic. Perhaps if more attention were focused on ensuring issues were resolved at an earlier stage then the courts would not be faced with as many problems.

    Why should LitPs not be as determined as a defendant? Or is it simply that we used the term determined for a defendant and obsessional for a LitP?

    Of course we realise that Judges are not there to 'take sides.' Of course we realise that some litigants are simply vexatious - but I would hazzard a guess that, looking at the reasoned responses on here, most aren't.

    But I do thank the legal professionals who have posted - they have made it so very clear that they will stop at nothing to win, that they consider their opponent to be their enemy, that they have no respect for their opponent and that they put no value on human life.

    I thank you. I like to know exactly where the goalposts are so I can play by your rules.

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