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House of Commons research briefing published on rise of LiPs

Paper collates all available evidence on the LASPO effect on representation

The House of Commons Library has published a research briefing collating all the available information concerning the increase in self-representation in family and civil proceedings.

The paper notes that the available evidence indicates that the proportion of litigants appearing before the civil and family courts in England and Wales without legal representation (ie litigants in person) has increased since the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 was introduced.

It says that reliable data on LIPs are scarce and the National Audit Office (NAO) has been critical of the limitations of the MoJ's data.  Most of the data that are available concern LIPs in the family courts, although the NAO has said that the legal aid reforms are likely also to have increased the number of LIPs in civil law courts.

The NAO has reported a 22% increase in cases involving contact with children (Children Act 1989 private law matters) and a 30% increase across all family court cases (including those that remain eligible for civil legal aid) in which neither party had legal representation.

The House of Commons Library briefing papers offer an independent summary of facts on subjects of interest, particularly legislation proceeding through Parliament.

The briefing paper is here.