The MoJ is spending millions to deal with LiPs
New government statistics revealed in late September show that the percentage of family court cases where no side has any form of legal representation has risen to 34%, which is the highest level since the UK Government removed access to legal aid in most family court cases in 2013. However, the government has stressed that the numbers reflect whether the respondent or applicant’s representative has been recorded or left blank, which means there are likely LiPs who are listed without legal representation, when in fact they are not necessarily self-representing.
As a result of the increased number of litigants in person (LiP), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has revealed that it is working hard to deal with the increased pressure on the justice system and is spending ‘millions’ in the process.
Funding is being made available to LiPs
According to the MoJ, the government is working hard to ensure more funding and support is readily available to help the justice system cope with the increasing number of people entering the court system on their own. What’s more, the MoJ is continuously increasing their efforts to keep LiPs out of the British court system in the first place.
The MoJ has revealed that is has spent around £3.4 million over the last two years on support and information for LiPs, with information being provided by the voluntary, advice and pro bono sectors. The MoJ continued to say that across the UK, there are now 17 personal support units, which are located in 13 cities, and that the LawWorks Clinics Network is also opening more outlets across the country to improve and increase initial legal advice given out to LiPs. The LawWorks Clinics Network is apparently collaborating with local law practitioners and schools to achieve this.
According to the Law Society Gazette, a new legal service is expected to open at the Royal Courts of Justice and Citizens Advice is expected to be there twice a week as well.
Government working to reduce number of LiPs
A MoJ spokesman has revealed that the government would ideally prefer any family disputes to be resolved outside of court whenever possible, and encouraged people to take advantage of approaches such as mediation, which the spokesman said can be quicker, cheaper and less stressful on the parties involved.
The spokesman continued to say that it’s always been the case that some people choose to represent themselves in court, and therefore the MoJ wants to continue to increase the support available to them. That is why the government is working to increase the amount of advice given in person, along with improving the amount of information available online and in court guides.
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