Commenting on their findings, Drs Leanne Smith (Cardiff University) and Emma Hitchings (University of Bristol), who carried out the study alongside independent legal researcher Mark Sefton, said: ‘We found much that was positive about the work of paid McKenzie Friends. This is the first research to explore the views of clients of McKenzie Friends and those we spoke to reported receiving a great deal of valuable support from their McKenzie Friends at a relatively low cost.
On 28 March 2016, Citizens Advice published a new report,called
It focuses on going to the family court without a lawyer.
The majority found self representing difficult, time consuming and emotionally draining. As well as a bad experience for court users, it also means litigants in person achieve worse outcomes compared with their represented counterparts.
Nine in ten litigants in person say it affected at least one other aspect of their life. Standing alone: going to the family court without a lawyer explores the four key areas affected: mental and physical health, working lives, finances and relationships.
Last month, Minister of State for Justice Simon Hughes announced that £2 million has been set aside towards a package of support for LIPs, with the apparent primary aim of resolving disputes without the involvement of the courts, but also supporting LiPs if their disputes do make it to the courts. That’s what various legal publications published. The Guardian, however, spoke of 1.4 million per year.
The funding is intended for the following:
- Expansion of the Personal Support Unit (currently only present at a few locations in the UK);
- The RCJ Advice Bureau (which helps claimants and defendants at the High Court or Court of Appeal at the Royal Court of Justice & County Courts across England and Wales, the family court at the Principal Registry of the Family Division or any other family court, and
the bankruptcy court at the Royal Court of Justice);
- LawWorks (he country’s leading legal pro bono charity for solicitors, in-house counsel, mediators and students); and
- Law for Life, a public legal education charity.
This initiative is the result of the November 2011 report “Access to Justice for Litigants in Person (or self-represented litigants)“.