Can family law cases really be a DIY project?

Recently, a judge in Bristol has allegedly been giving masterclasses on representing yourself in court following a legal aid cut that has left many fending for themselves.

The classes are said to cover what is worth knowing prior to turning up at court to DIY for a personal family case.

There haven’t been any comments on the law from any judges, or how the swingeing cuts have seen nearly all legal aid vanish for private family matters. These can range from post-divorce financial settlements, to the custody of children following parents’ splitting, also protective orders including non-molestation orders.

The judge who had been hosting the masterclasses began by laying out facts. Rising numbers of people are arriving at court absent of a lawyer, he said. In a three-month period in 2014, 80% of private family law cases saw at least one party attempting to fight a case without legal representation.

As the numbers of private family matters that are taken to court without the correct legal help rise, the presentation that was held regarding optioning a DIY approach received a hoard of questions once it had ceased.

Questions that had been asked included such: ‘What is the lawful basis for one parent to prevent a child from contact, without an order?’ and ‘If assessments presented to the court contain misrepresentation, what recourse does the injured party have?’.

What are your thoughts on the DIY approach to family law?

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