Solicitor or no solicitor?
1. Can you afford to manage your case through the whole legal process without legal representation?
2. Can you afford to lose your case due to lack of compliance with the correct legal procedures; something you could have perhaps avoided by seeking the right legal advice?
You may choose to commence or defend legal proceedings brought against you without legal representation for various reasons, for example; affordability of legal costs, self-confidence to manage without legal representation or experience in dealing with previous legal proceedings or other personal choice.
Whatever your reason, it is imperative to familiarise yourself with the law, rules, practice directions and procedures relevant to your case. Quite often, the court will be lenient by making allowances to Litigants in Person (LiPs) in relation to the hearings or case management. However, the court will still expect you to maintain an acceptable level of compliance with the rules; for example, complying with directions set by the court and vital rules and procedures relevant to your case.
In a new 2018 case of Barton v Wright Hall, the UK Supreme Court, albeit by a narrow majority has decided that “lack of representation will not usually justify applying to LiPs a lower standard of compliance with rules or orders of the court.” In this case, Mr Barton’s claim was invalid, having been served on his opponent via opponent’s solicitor, by email. He had failed to check whether his opponent’s solicitor could accept service by e-mail, which is required by Civil Procedure Rules. Unfortunately, the court could not validate his claim, which had expired the following day, without effective service.
If legal action you intend to bring or brought against you is of great significance, it is worth having a solicitor guide you, even if at first instance. At AGR Law, we do offer unbundled services (depending on the nature of your case), to individuals who cannot afford to engage a solicitor fully on retainer. Unbundled Services will allow you to only pay a solicitor to deal with aspects of your case that you cannot manage or that demand legal assistance.