Published 03/05/2019 by Stacey Lamb
Research by mmadigital shows that cost and lack of understanding of legal services could see consumer clients try to avoid direct contact with lawyers.
The Legal Education Foundation has published a comprehensive and insightful report by leading legal journalist Joshua Rozenberg QC on the court reform programme, from origins to implementation.
Published 01/02/2019 by Marco Montanaro
This article provides a general overview of triage, exploring what it means and what its implications for access-to-justice services are. After tracing the history of the word 'triage', the article goes on to chart some recent developments in Canada and offers some suggestions as to how a triage mechanism could effectively benefit the access-to-justice sector across the UK.
Published 18/01/2019 by Stacey Lamb
Article on what it's like to be a litigant in person is among the winners of the Bar Council Legal Reporting Awards.
"Parents will often attend court unrepresented, shell-shocked after having been through a final care hearing and having to come to terms with the fact that a court has decided that their child(ren) should be removed from their care... Trying to explain what the application of the law is, let alone the law on change of circumstances, is always going to be difficult. "
With nearly 36 per cent of cases included a litigant in person this article from the Times gives an overview of the difficulties presented by litigants in person, from the court to represented parties.
Co-located support services, such as Citizens Advice services at GP practices, can play a crucial role in helping both patient/clients and the service provider. A national average shows the almost a fifth of GP consultation time is spent on 'non-clinical' issues presented by clients, but how is this reflected in the poorest and most vulnerable user groups?
It's been five years since the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act came into force and drastically reduced the scope and availability of legal aid funding. We are following the post-implementation review process and feeding back to the Network to enable the views of organisations working directly with litigants in person to be shared.
From the reform of HMCTS and the introduction of Assisted Digital, to the use of artificial intelligence to predict the outcome of your case, it seems where there's a legal dispute there's a digital solution We've pulled together a brief overview of some of the most relevant developments to look at how their introduction might help, or hinder, litigants in person.
Under proposed changes to small claims limits it is estimated as many as 90% of accident victims will be unable to pursue claims with legal assistance. Michael Lewis, CEO of Claim Technology explores whether a combination of technology and barristers can fill the gap.
In a recent blog post Transform Justice highlights an instance of unrepresented litigants being used to justify refusing a member of public access to viewing small claims proceedings at a county court.
The recent wave of housing associations’ mega-mergers have sparked the question: is bigger necessarily better?
Grace Abu, Preventative Housing Solicitor at RCJ Advice, looks at the impact of the new super-sized housing associations on their clients
(Author Lizzie Irons, Head of Service, the Personal Support Unit) As we head into the autumn, we are taking stock, with each PSU writing a progress report for April to September 2017. The most surprising news is not the overall increase in client contacts over the period, but the fact that for over a third of our services (8 of 21) recorded client contacts peaked in August, reaching the highest client contact figures to date. Gone are the days when the summer represented a dip in workload and a short breathing space.
Melissa Mohndoro, Trainee Solicitor at RCJ Advice discusses the Supreme Court's decision to abolish Employment Tribunal fees. "The Employment Tribunals exist to provide a simple means for individuals to challenge the decisions of employers that affect their civil rights. In spite of the ever-increasing complexity of modern employment law, a great many citizens pursue claims in the employment tribunal as a litigant in person.
(Author: Toby Brown, barrister at South Square chambers and trustee at the Access to Justice Foundation) Many of you reading this will be aware of pro bono costs. But for those who don’t know, pro bono costs are the equivalent of normal legal costs, yet are available when the winning party was assisted by free of charge legal representation. Under section 194 of the Legal Services Act 2007 the losing party pays the equivalent sum of costs to the Access to Justice Foundation. The Foundation then distributes the funds to support organisations that provide free legal help to those in need. So the scheme levels the playing field for pro bono assisted parties in terms of costs risks and therefore can help parties settle, and produces extra money for justice. But why then are we not getting more pro bono costs?
(Author: Rayla Javaid, RCJ Advice) The courts are now actively encouraging alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in civil matters to assist settlement. Pre-Action Protocol encourages early disclosure by the parties so that issues can be settled without the need to pursue litigation. Failure to do so will now inevitably lead to cost consequences as the courts will need to see that parties have attempted at the very least to engage in ADR such as mediation. This all leads back to the legal principle of proportionality.
(Author: Sue Day, Citizens Advice Shepway) Since the changes to Legal Aid in 2013 Advice Agencies and the public have struggled. Advice Agencies because previous provision and funding of legal advice has shrunk dramatically and the public because their need for legal advice, assistance and representation remains undiminished but the ability to access this in some areas is no longer there and in others is greatly reduced.
James Sandbach looks at the trend in money claims, based on data compiled for the Ministry of Justice by the Registry Trust
Author: James Sandbach, Director of Policy and External Affairs, LawWorks. "About a month ago I was privileged to have a sneak preview of the “Beta” sites that HMCTS officials have been working as part of the Court modernisation programme to digitise much of the court process and administration. Justice Minister Oliver Heald brought officials along to the House of Commons for a private briefing of MPs, as the Prisons and Courts Bill was about to be launched in Parliament. Despite having been involved in much of the discussion about “Online Courts” since the Briggs Review and the subsequent Ministry of Justice paper on “Transforming our Justice System,” I wasn’t quite clear what to expect, but after the preliminaries about customer journeys and the political words about improving the justice system for everyone, we finally saw a demonstration of what the new processes will look like.