(Word count-1450 words)
Even though parties to civil litigation have the right to personally appear in court to present their case, this exercised right have increased and as a result it created effect upon the judicial system, which has become significant[footnoteRef:1]. This paper examines the reason why individuals become self-represented, the complications they may face and the issues they may cause. This paper will first explore some of the causes in the growth of the number of self-represented litigations, with evidence to the major reasons. Second, I will discuss the effects of the lack of representation on access to justice and the measure to minimise any unfortunate or unfavourable effects on access to justice. Finally, I will speak about possible actions that might work in assisting litigants in person which might improve the complications caused by the increase of self-represented litigations in the legal system. [1: Chad, Silver, ‘Aiding the Plight of Self-Represented Litigants: Admission to the Magistrates Court’ (2013) 20 (1) Murdoch University Law Review 22, 22.]
The number of self-represented litigation in recent years is increasing across the legal system. Most parties are either left to pay for a professional legal representation or qualify for assistance such as legal aid or remain unrepresented.[footnoteRef:2] In fact, a lawyer may withdraw from representing a client in the middle of the case for non-payment of legal fees. Moreover, in some cases lawyers or professional legal representations refuse to represent a certain person for having a conflict of interest, conflict of personalities and they do not feel like they are able to adequately communicate with the client[footnoteRef:3]. Some of the increase of self-represented litigations in courts are as well caused by people who abandon their legal rights and refuse to be represented by a lawyer. These are some of the disadvantages that people face in court which leaves them with no legal representation therefore, have no option but to self-represented litigation. [2: Chief Justice Faulks, ‘Self-Represented Litigants: Tackling the Challenge’, (2013) National Judicial College of Australia and the Australian National University.] [3: Stevens, Patrick, ‘Why don’t we have the right to free legal representation in Australia’, Sydney Criminal Lawyers (Online), 19 October 2017 .]
There is no necessary requirement that a person must be legally qualified in-order to represent himself/herself, however research shows that parties who are unrepresented are more likely to have an unsuccessful outcome in court[footnoteRef:4]. Courts always prefer and recommend for individuals to be legally presented by a legal profession or legal aid if they qualify. If parties or individuals prefer to self-represent their case, the court will be mindful of the fact that the person is ...