Members and guests attended a talk by Professor Peter Crisp on Thursday 16 January 2020 at Withers’ office. Professor Crisp presented his talk Supporting Litigants in Person – The English Experience through the lens of his work with Support Through Court a legal charity serving England and Wales.
Support Through Court offers assistance to litigants navigating the civil and family courts. Their aim is to help clients represent themselves to the best of their abilities with practical services, such as assistance with court forms, gathering evidence and information on how to present cases in court.
The number of litigants representing themselves in England and Wales rose significantly following extensive Legal Aid cuts in 2014. Limitations on legal aid within family proceedings saw a rise in private law applications initiated by litigants in person. In 2017 Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, told the House of Commons justice committee that the increase is ‘deeply worrying’.
It is vital that litigants in person have the tools they need to participate actively and constructively in the family law process. Equally, this represents particular challenges for lawyers and Judges working in the area.
The FLA thanks Professor Crisp for his informative talk and inspiration for better services for litigants in person.
Resources for litigants in person in Hong Kong SAR include: –
- Community Information Legal Centre: Family, Matrimonial and Cohabitation – https://www.clic.org.hk/en/topics/familyMatrimonialAndCohabitation/
- Hong Kong Judiciary
- Hong Kong Judiciary – https://www.judiciary.hk/en/home/index.html
- Hong Kong Judiciary: How to apply for a divorce – https://www.judiciary.hk/en/court_services_facilities/divorce.html
- Resource Centre for Unrepresented Litigants: https://rcul.judiciary.hk/rc/cover.htm
- Bar Free Legal Service Scheme – https://www.hkba.org/content/bar-freelegal-services-scheme
- Law Society of Hong Kong – http://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/
- Law Society ‘Free Legal Consultation’ Website – http://www.choosehklawyer.org/en/search_fl_practice_areas.asp
- Legal Aid Department (24-hour Line: (852) 2537 7677) – https://www.lad.gov.hk/index.html
About Professor Peter Crisp
Having read Philosophy as an undergraduate, Peter switched to law qualifying as a Barrister at the Chancery Bar specialising in property and land law. Peter began his career in legal education at BPP Law School in 1997 as a lecturer on the Graduate Diploma in Law and Bar programmes. He served as Dean and CEO of BPP Law School from 2003 to 2017 and was a co-founder of BPP University. Peter is non-executive Chairman of Support Through Court, a major legal charity which supports litigants in person through the civil and family courts.