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Guidelines published for dealing with LiPs

Bar Council, Law Society and CILex agree guidance for their members

A surge in the number of people representing themselves in court has prompted the Bar Council, Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and the Law Society to draft guidelines for members who are acting against parties without legal representation.

The practical guidelines are relevant to the civil and family courts and tribunals where there has been an influx of people who cannot afford to instruct a lawyer, have not been able to obtain free legal advice and often have no alternative other than to embark on 'do it yourself' justice.

The guidelines discuss the relationship between a lawyer's duty to
their client, their duty to the court and the administration of justice, and
the extent to which the latter duty requires a lawyer to assist the LiP. The guidelines also cover those circumstances when a LiP is assisted
by someone who is not legally qualified (for example, a McKenzie Friend).

There is guidance, for instance, as to how far lawyers can help unrepresented people without this conflicting with their duties to their own clients. Lawyers are advised to communicate clearly and avoid technical language or legal jargon, or to explain jargon to the unrepresented party where it cannot be avoided.

The guidelines for lawyers; notes for litigants in person themselves; notes for represented clients, explaining how their lawyer will deal with the litigant in person; and summaries of relevant cases can all be accessed from this page.