Brave new world of litigants in person

This year’s reduction in legal aid and the removal of recoverability of success fees and premiums from the losing party can lead to only one thing: a huge increase in the ranks of litigants in person (LiPs). Mills & Reeve reviews recent proposals to deal with the problems that are likely to follow and offer guidance to those on the receiving end of civil claims brought by LiPs.

The Report of the Judicial Working Group on Litigants in Person was published in July, following the changes brought about by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishing of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) in April this year. It refers to the more detailed report of the Civil Justice Council — Access to Justice for Litigants in Person — published in November 2011. The 2011 report recommended that LiPs should be called self-represented litigants (SRLs) but this was rejected in practice guidance issued by the master of the rolls earlier this year.

The 2013 report focuses on what the judiciary can do to manage the problems caused by LiPs and considers whether court rules need to be amended to give judges more flexibility when dealing with LiPs…

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