Family Law Hub

Law Society Litigants in Person Practice Note

  • Law Society Litigants in Person Practice Note

    The Law Society has issued new practice guidance on how solicitors should conduct themselves while opposing litigants in person. The Practice Note covers more than just the family courts and, of course, is only recommended good practice but there is a section devoted to family cases which states:

    'It might be appropriate to remind unrepresented LiPs before the date for compliance with a court order if it serves the interests of your client and duty to the court;

    Any documents relating to children and prepared for the purposes of family proceedings are strictly confidential and may be disclosed to a restricted class of persons only (see rule 12.75 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010), as well as to a McKenzie Friend (see section 6). Under 12.73 of the 2010 Rules, failure to comply will amount to contempt of court. It may be necessary to ensure that the LiP is fully aware of this for your client's protection and that of the children;

    Family cases can involve LiPs who are particularly angry and upset, or even vexatious (see section 5). It may be prudent to ensure that you keep accurate records of any meetings and to follow up any conversations in writing summarising what has been discussed; and

    Cross-examination by a LiP of an ex-partner can be emotionally charged. You may wish to explain to the LiP that cross-examination should not be aggressive, and that the judge would be asked to intervene if it were deemed to cross these boundaries.'

    The note uses the term Litigant in Person, though in some quarters they are now referred to as self-represented litigants.

    The full Practice Note can be read on the Law Society website.

News, published: 20/04/2012

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Published: 20/04/2012

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