It’s quite common for people to start their own legal proceedings because they think it will be cheaper in the long run than having a solicitor act for them, especially if they think the Judge will give them an easier ride than their legally represented opponents.

Many litigants in person assume that they won’t be held to the same standards as the other side, and that the Judge will give them a degree of latitude.

However, I have heard Judges remind litigants in person that it is their choice not to take legal advice, and that the rules apply to them just as much as they apply to someone who has a solicitor acting for them.

In case you thought I was exaggerating this, in a recent case, a litigant in person was ordered to pay nearly £100,000 to the other side.  The litigant in person had repeatedly reminded the Judge that he was not legally represented but the Judge specifically ruled that this did not excuse him.  In cases where I’ve had a non legally represented party on the other side, it’s actually increased the costs, so that bill might actually have ended up being higher simply because the losing party didn’t take legal advice.   I’ve also seen good cases and defences fail, simply because they weren’t presented properly which could have been avoided had the party in question had had professional help.

If you really can’t afford a solicitor, you may take the view that bringing the claim alone is better than not bringing it at all, but be warned that it could still end up costing you money that you can’t afford to lose.

So if all else fails, feel free to give me a call.  Whilst there may be a limit to what I can do to help you if you are on a limited budget, I may still be able to point you in the right direction and help you avoid the most common pitfalls.  You may find that it’s a good investment and not just for the pleasure of hearing my voice.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Cheaper than being a litigant in person.