There is a perception that people who represent themselves in court (by, for instance, sacking their lawyer, and carrying on themselves) will be granted a lot of leeway by the court because they don’t know their way round the procedures and the law. Well, think again, says Shaun Underhill a partner in Winchester based solicitors Shentons: “The Court of Appeal has just told a so-called litigant in person that his lack of legal understanding and procedures does not entitle him to extra indulgence. Without any leeway, and not knowing the law, the potential to get things badly wrong is tremendous.”
The case concerned a commercial helicopter pilot called Peter Elliott who claimed to be a “whistle-blower” and who subsequently represented himself in court in a court action. The number of self-represented litigants is expected to rise sharply since the legal aid cuts began to bite in April 2013. Shaun Underhill comments: “The law is a complicated beast. That’s why people need professionally qualified experts called lawyers. This Court’s comments perfectly illustrate the risk of representing yourself.” If you feel you may need advice, Shentons Solicitors and Mediators can advise you, call Shaun Underhill on 01962 844544 for further information.