Recent changes to legal aid mean that certain employment, immigration as well as family law cases will no longer be eligible for legal aid. So how do people, especially those who cannot afford to hire a firm or solicitor, acquire justice? In most cases, many individuals are now settling to represent themselves in court. The Bar Council, in response to the increasing number of people who are representing themselves in a trial, decided to release a guide on how people can defend and represent themselves in court. This includes a note that people should not attempt to copy the way lawyers act in TV because “judges hate it”.
So how can people who have no background on the different laws and legal matters defend themselves in court? The first step that they should do would be to seek for independent advice. These individuals can ask for advice from a non-profit law centre like the Citizens Advice Bureau and Advice UK. These law centres can advice individuals on the different steps that they should take in handling their case, or if the case is worth fighting for in the first place.
Many experts also believe that individuals who want to represent themselves should not disregard completely the option of asking help from a lawyer or solicitor. You can also ask help from a solicitor (most will offer a free initial consultation). Many people are under the false pretense that solicitors will advise clients or people who are asking for help to agree on something that is not originally part of their interest. The right lawyer can actually steer you away from making bad decisions regarding your case. Make sure that you approach a solicitor that will remain neutral with your case and someone that will help you make decisions regarding the process of your case.