Procedure trips up self-represented litigants

This week’s Radio National Law Report considers the difficulties faced by litigants who are forced to represent themselves in court. QPILCH′s Elizabeth Pendlebury says the system is difficult for non-lawyers to navigate: “They don’t expect to have to follow a lot of pre-trial proceedings and steps to set out their case before having a substantive hearing before somebody in the court system.” This can lead to people dropping their cases, even if they have a strong legal position. Judge Misso of the County Court says he tries to provide a “roadmap” for self-represented litigants, but the assistance judges can offer is limited in an adversarial system. The County Court is trying to improve accessibility with a new self-represented litigants coordinator, and a YouTube video guide to court processes.

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