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The CAB Report: To be represented or go it alone?

A Citizen Advice Bureau report highlights: represented people in Court tend to do better. It also found media portrayals of “Fatcat” lawyers encourages a lot of people to undertake their own litigation. This has had dire consequences for their finances, health as well as a case outcomes.

The report confirms the stress, responsibility and loneliness of going to Court without representation lead to unrepresented people achieving worse outcomes when compared with their represented opponents.

Many got into debt as a result of the costs involved, in undergoing the process without appropriate help. The significant amount of photocopying that is required to abide by the Court rules, the procedures as well as the additional appointments and travel with time off going to and from the Court. Often when represented by a solicitor the requirement of attending Court and the costs associated with that can be avoided.

The rise in the number of litigants in person was mainly due to withdrawal of Legal Aid in 2013. It noted many people chose to be unrepresented as they either mistrusted lawyers or were not aware of the value lawyers could bring to their case.

The charity said unclear information about the services lawyers provide makes it difficult for people to judge the quality of a professional and compare services. It could also cause people to feel frustrated with the service they did receive from their lawyer if they instruct one.

The report went onto say there was a general lack of awareness of consumer protections so it meant one poor experience spread that person to all and sundry puts many others off instructing a solicitor.

The charity highlighted it was only after people had been through the family Court process they realised the value of having a lawyer and 70% of those who were not represented and went through the process said that instructing a professional would have helped them.

Gillian Guy the Chief Executive of Citizens Advice said, “for people representing themselves in the Family Court, whether in a divorce case or to keep their legal right to see their children, the work load to prepare can be unmanageable”.

At Clough & Willis we offer everyone a free initial meeting with the person who would represent them. There is no cost and no obligation. What will be involved and the likely costs will be discussed.

Attending Court is indeed very stressful. People must remember that, this is a process where decisions will be made effecting their long term future, be it their ability to see their child, keep their house, or have a fair share of the matrimonial pot on separation or divorce. Having the best representation is extremely important at this crucial time.

If you would like to speak to someone regarding a family matter then please phone Lee or Marie on 0800 083 0815 to arrange a free initial meeting.