Litigants in Person are individuals, companies or organisations who are not represented in court by a barrister or solicitor. On this webpage, you can find out what to expect from the barristers who might appear on the other side, learn about McKenzie Friends and where to find more help as a Litigant in Person.
Deciding whether this is the right option for you
As the regulator of barristers we would always advise you to use someone who is independently regulated and properly qualified to represent you if you can afford to do so. But if you become a Litigant in Person, in this section, we outline what to expect from the barristers you might expect to encounter.
Help for Litigants in Person
If you are thinking of becoming a Litigant in Person, you may find the following websites helpful:
- Advicenow which has a dedicated section for people going to court, or thinking about it, without the help of a lawyer. They have a number of self-help guides as well as details of who can access Legal Aid, and how to access the free advice, practical support and representation that is available. In April 2020 we helped to fund an Advice Now publication called 'A survivial guide to going to court when the other side has a lawyer and you don't' as well as one called Hearings in a civil claim and one called Interim applications - how to ask a civil court to do something.
- a guide published by the Bar Council on Representing yourself in Court: and
- the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website which has a range of resources to help those going to court without legal representation.
If you decide not to represent yourself, read our helpful guide to Finding and using a barrister.
What to expect from the barristers and solicitors representing other parties when you are representing yourself
If you go to court or tribunal without the help of a barrister or a solicitor to represent you, it is likely that you will encounter barristers or solicitors representing the other parties involved in your legal dispute or case. If you are facing a criminal charge, this will include barristers or solicitors representing the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). It is therefore important to understand how these highly-trained and regulated professionals are likely to act towards you. Advicenow have written a guide that explains this, and shows you how you can represent your case as well as possible. You can access the guide here.
If you have a concern about a barrister
You can tell us if you have concerns about a barrister who is not, or has not, worked for you, or about the place they work from (such as their chambers), or a legal services business which we regulate.
Please visit our Reporting concerns page for more information on how to do this.
A “McKenzie Friend” is someone who can help you if you are representing yourself in court. Some McKenzie Friends offer their services free of charge whilst others charge a fee.
Whether they charge a fee or not – unlike barristers or solicitors – some McKenzie Friends are not regulated and if they are, they are self-regulated. This means they do not need to have any legal qualifications and if you are unhappy with the service they provide, your options for doing anything about it or getting compensation might be limited. There is more information about what to expect from McKenzie Friends on the Legal Choices website.