UCL Faculty of Laws


Litigants in Person: what can courts do?

13 June 2014

A panel of distinguished speakers provided a range of perspectives on how courts can adapt procedure to provide effective hearings for self-representing litigants.

Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls and Head of Civil Justice described the initiatives being taken by the judiciary to modify procedure and consider the use of McKenzie friends.

Lord Justice Ryder outlined the ‘inquisitorial’ approach being adopted in the Family Court and Judge Antoine Garapon explained the approach taken in France where litigants with substantial claims are required to be represented in court. Bonnie Hough, Managing Attorney for the Center for Families, Children & the Courts of the
California Administrative Office of the Courts, described how Californian family courts have successfully set up self-representation units staffed by lawyers. The various Californian court innovations created a great deal of interest among the judiciary.

The panel was chaired by the Dean of UCL Laws, Professor Dame Hazel Genn and the distinguished audience included the Lord Chief Justice, The Right Honourable The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, along with all the Heads of Divisions, Senior President of Tribunals members of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Circuit and District benches.

Download the programme and set of background papers prepared for the event by Judicial Institute Fellow, John Sorabji