Below are some hurdles that I believe can trip up English litigants in person (LIPs).
A lack of funds;
A lack of organisation;
A dislike of confident people;
A misunderstanding of rules and deadlines;
The use of euphemisms and confusing language;
A lack of understanding of the legal foundation for a case.
As a litigant in person, you also have be able to spend the time as and when required and you may need access to resources you don’t have or are not aware of, such as databases.
You cannot afford to run out of money for ink, paper, postage or court fees.
You have to be able to find any relevant document instantly.
You cannot allow yourself to be intimidated or get sidetracked by a dislike for someone’s confident attitude, or the fact that they seem to know even less than you do.
It is, for example, no use to file an application before the day after which you can file them, in anticipation of events.
You have to call a spade a spade. The use of euphemisms and overly flowery language often wastes everyone’s time – and money.
You have to be able to tell the judge which laws and specific bits in them you are basing your case on, and show that events were in violation of them.
One of the cornerstones of legal undertakings is good organisation. Earlier, I mentioned the usefulness of Jalema clips and cable ties. Here are three more tips.
Stock up on bulldog clips or, preferably, foldback binder clips to keep your pages together when you’re still working on them and haven’t punched holes in them yet. Foldback binder clips come in all sizes and are usually black, but are also available in brighter colours and without any colour (metal).
If you’re copying many pages and are worried that one of the pages might accidentally get lost, print the information (what document the page belongs to) on the paper sheets before you copy onto the other side of the sheets. (If you include page numbers, have hundreds of pages, and something goes wrong, consider inserting pages like 18a, 18b and 18c if that means you don’t have to start all over again. It’s not elegant, but it’s practical.)
If you have a ring binder and are concerned about pages falling from it, tie a ribbon (or a piece of string) around it, so that each of the three open sides has one piece of ribbon or string that will stop a page from falling out. It can also help you identify your binder quickly.
Staying organised is one of the corner stones of legal undertakings. Never forget this name:
J A L E M A.
Jalema clips are the ultimate when it comes to keeping papers organised. I have been using Jalema clips for decades. The video at the bottom of this post shows you how they work. Amazon.co.uk sells them: here.
But what to do when you’ve run out of Jalema clips and you have bundles to bind? Grab some cable ties! Less elegant, but effective enough when you’re in a hurry.
For cases and businesses with a lot of paperwork that needs to be filed, I have one more tip. If you are lucky enough to pass through the Netherlands every once in a while, see if you can purchase some of those patented Loeff’s file boxes.
They come as flat packs, so you can stack them against the wall behind your desk or bookcase to fold and use them as needed. They’re great. I haven’t spotted them in the UK yet, but in the Netherlands and Belgium, you may be able to purchase them at professional office stores or order them from Viking Direct.
Perhaps you can. Magistrates are volunteers and they don’t need certain qualifications or legal training to become a magistrate.
Check into it: here.