Litigants in Person in Private Family Law Cases

  • Trinder, Liz (Principal Investigator)
  • Hitchings, Emma (Researcher)
  • Hunter , Rosemary (Researcher)
  • Smith , Leanne (Researcher)
  • Miles, Joanna (Researcher)
  • Moorhead , Richard (Researcher)

Project Details


The research has been commissioned by the Ministry of Justice to understand the range or types of self-represented parties, their behavioural drivers and support needs and their impact on the court system. The research will sample 150 live cases in three county and two family proceedings courts using a combination of observation, linked interviews with the parties and professionals and analysis of the court file. The detailed analysis of the 150 individual cases will be contextualised by further data collection at each of the five local courts, including focus groups with local court staff, Clerks to the Justices, lawyers and Cafcass as well as analysis of support services and observation of court counters and waiting rooms.

Layman's description

Most people who go to court about a family law issue use a lawyer but some people represent themselves or use a different source of support. The purpose of this study is to find out what the court process is like when people are in these different situations. The researchers want to learn more about the reasons why some people represent themselves in court while others use a lawyer, and about the difference that using or not using a lawyer makes to the court proceedings. The research will help the Ministry of Justice to understand whether anything needs to change to help people who do not have a lawyer use the courts effectively.
Effective start/end date1/12/121/09/13


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