Help for self represented litigants (litigants acting in person)
The Courts have seen a marked increase in self represented “Litigants in Person” conducting their own cases. This has prompted the publication of a number of guides aimed at providing key information and assistance:-
- “A guide to proceedings in the supreme court for those without a legal representative” February 2014, by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. This is a short, helpful guide which lawyers will also find useful;
- “A Handbook for Litigants in Persons” by six Circuit Judges, free on the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary website;
- “A Guide to Representing Yourself in Court” by the Bar Council;
- “Helping Litigants in Person” by John Bolch on Stowe Family Law Blog.
- The Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2013, published on 13 February 2013, have not substantially altered the position in relation to Litigants in Person, but the relevant rule is now CPR 46.5:-
Litigants in person
46.5.—(1) This rule applies where the court orders (whether by summary assessment or detailed assessment) that the costs of a litigant in person are to be paid by any other person.
(2) The costs allowed under this rule will not exceed, except in the case of a disbursement, two-thirds of the amount which would have been allowed if the litigant in person had been represented by a legal representative.
(3) The litigant in person shall be allowed—
(a)costs for the same categories of—
(i) work; and
which would have been allowed if the work had been done or the disbursements had been made by a legal representative on the litigant in person’s behalf;
(b) the payments reasonably made by the litigant in person for legal services relating to the conduct of the proceedings; and
(c) the costs of obtaining expert assistance in assessing the costs claim.
(4)The amount of costs to be allowed to the litigant in person for any item of work claimed will be—
(a) where the litigant can prove financial loss, the amount that the litigant can prove to have been lost for time reasonably spent on doing the work; or
(b) where the litigant cannot prove financial loss, an amount for the time reasonably spent on doing the work at the rate set out in Practice Direction 46.
(5) A litigant who is allowed costs for attending at court to conduct the case is not entitled to a witness allowance in respect of such attendance in addition to those costs.
(6) For the purposes of this rule, a litigant in person includes—
(a) a company or other corporation which is acting without a legal representative; and
(b) any of the following who acts in person (except where any such person is represented by a firm in which that person is a partner)—
(i) a barrister;
(ii) a solicitor;
(iii) a solicitor’s employee;
(iv) a manager of a body recognised under section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985 *(a) ; or
(v) a person who, for the purposes of the 2007 Act **(b), is an authorised person in relation to an activity which constitutes the conduct of litigation (within the meaning of that Act).
CPR Costs Practice Direction
Litigants in person: rule 46.5
3.1 In order to qualify as an expert for the purpose of rule 46.5(3)(c) (expert assistance in connection with assessing the claim for costs), the person in question must be a –
(c) Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives;
(d) Fellow of the Association of Costs Lawyers;
(e) law costs draftsman who is a member of the Academy of Experts;
(f) law costs draftsman who is a member of the Expert Witness Institute.
3.2 Where a self represented litigant wishes to prove that the litigant has suffered financial loss, the litigant should produce to the court any written evidence relied on to support that claim, and serve a copy of that evidence on any party against whom the litigant seeks costs at least 24 hours before the hearing at which the question may be decided.
3.3 A self represented litigant who commences detailed assessment proceedings under rule 47.5 should serve copies of that written evidence with the notice of commencement.
3.4 The amount, which may be allowed to a self represented litigant under rule 45.39(5)(b) and rule 46.5(4)(b), is £18 per hour.
*(a) 1985 c. 61. Section 9 was amended by the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, section 125(3), (7), Schedules 18 and 20; the Access to Justice Act 1999 section 106, Schedule 15 Part II; S.I. 2000/1119 regulation 37(3), Schedule 4 paragraph 15; the Legal Services Act 2007, section 177, 210, Schedule 16, Part 2, paragraphs 80 and 81 and Schedule 23; S.I. 2001/1090, regulation 1, 9, Schedule 5 paragraph 12; S.I. 2011/1716 article 4.
**(b) 2007 c.29.