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Parents increasingly represent themselves in residence and contact proceedings

More than 21,000 unrepresented parties between April and September 2013

Between April and September 2013, which represents the first six months since changes to public funding, the number of unrepresented parties at court in private law children proceedings stood at 21,574. This half yearly figure is almost two-thirds (65%) of the annual number of unrepresented parties (33,294) who went to court in 2012/13. The figures have been obtained by a Freedom of Information request made by

Of all parties attending court for private law child-related proceedings between April and Sept 2013, approaching half (45%) were unrepresented. This is an increase from 37% for the 2012/13 period.

The number of applications to court for private law Children Act matters in England and Wales increased by 10% between April and September 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.

Marc Lopatin, founder of, said:

"Very soon we might have a scenario where over half of all parties contesting child matters at court will be unrepresented. This is what happens when you drive a wedge between lawyers and mediators. The MoJ needs to stop pretending lawyers don't matter and come up with policy that aligns both professionals."