What Is a Litigant in Person?
In England and Wales, a litigant in person has been described in the Civil Procedure Rules as,
“a company or other corporation which is acting without a legal representative; and any of the following who acts in person (except where any such person is represented by a firm in which that person is a partner) (i) a barrister; (ii) a solicitor; (iii) a solicitor’s employee; (iv) a manager of a body recognised under section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985; or (v) a person who, for the purposes of the 2007 Act, is an authorised person in relation to an activity which constitutes the conduct of litigation (within the meaning of that Act).”- CPR 46.5
A litigant in person is essentially, an individual, company, or organisation who acts on their own behalf during legal proceedings, i.e, without legal representation in the form of a solicitor or barrister.
Are Litigants in Persons Treated any More or Less Favourably by Judges?
Litigants in person should be treated in the same way as those who are legally represented. In the past, there have been some instances where LIP’s have been treated more favourably due to their lack of expert legal knowledge, however, the case of Barton v Wright Hassall  set out the Court’s position on their treatment to LIP’s and stated that they should not be treated any more or less favourably during court proceedings . It was made clear in this case that all litigants in persons will be expected to have knowledge of, and understand the Court’s rules. In the Barton case, Lord Sumption stated,
“litigating in person is not always a matter of choice with the unavailability of legal aid and conditional fee agreements being restricted, some litigants have little choice but to represent themselves”, and whilst “their lack of representation will often justify making allowances in making case management decision and in conducting hearings. But it will not usually justify applying to litigants in person a lower standard of compliance with rules or orders of the court […] Any advantage enjoyed by litigants in person imposes a corresponding disadvantage on the other side, which may be significant.”
For this reason, it is essential that all litigants in person make themselves aware of the processes and rules set out by the Court. If you unsure of your obligations set out by the Court, you should seek legal advice before initiating or defending any legal action.
How can The Litigant In Person Advice Centre Assist?
The Litigant in Person Advice Centre have set out information and guidance on this website for LIP’s.
We have set out guidance on procedure, outlining the Pre-Action Protocol and the Civil Procedure Rules.
We have also provided information on how to recover costs if you are the successful LIP in a case and information on how to proceed regarding legal costs if you are the unsuccesful party in a case.
We regularly update our blog, providing information and updates on case law.
Contact us today for advice.
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