Been to court without a solicitor?

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David Roth
Posts: 2022
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Been to court without a solicitor?

Postby David Roth » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:06 am

We need your help to develop a system for helping relatives and friends who represent themselves in court without a solicitor.

We are currently developing a pilot project in North London to give free advice and support to relatives and friends who, as a result of legal aid changes from April 2013, will not be able to get legal aid so end up having to represent themselves when they apply for residence or special guardianship orders. We are currently applying for funding for the project and the funders want to know what our clients think about the project.

If you are a relative or friend who has applied for an court order in the past, please can you tell us:
1. what you think is or would be most difficult about applying to court without a solicitor and
2. what advice and support would most help you prepare your case (given that we would not be able to represent you in court)?
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

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MandyLou
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:23 am

Re: Been to court without a solicitor?

Postby MandyLou » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:24 pm

I think it's a great idea.
We have applied for a residence order and are using a solicitor. I looked at the DIY residence order factsheet and although none of the tasks required would be overly difficult, I felt that I would worry about getting the paperwork right - things like the right number of copies, who to send them to etc.
Also phrasing the wording in a way that is objectively looking at the facts rather than including emotion - I think I am too close to the situation to avoid having emotional statements in the paperwork.
The other reasons we have decided to use a solicitor are that we thought (and have been proved right) that the parent would start to play dirty and I wanted to have someone who could help us see through that - again it is being objective. Also we are currently providing care for the child in question and I work full time so I could see how we would be under pressure to get everything done correctly and on time.

If there was a service available that phyiscally helped with the paperwork, going to court without a solicitor would be far less scary and we might have gone down that line.

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David Roth
Posts: 2022
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: Been to court without a solicitor?

Postby David Roth » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:13 pm

That's very helpful information for our application, MandyLou, thank you.

Anybody else who has represented themselves in court or is thinking of doing so, we'd love to hear your views.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

wilhelmina
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:48 am

Re: Been to court without a solicitor?

Postby wilhelmina » Fri Sep 11, 2015 6:43 pm

Hello
We are a new service in South Tyneside for Grandparents who would need at times to use courts, they would not know how to start and the loss of Legal Aid just adds to the worry.

We also have Grandparents who have been to court and found this to be very difficult and hard to cope with.

The Grandparents we offer help to are all being denied access to their Grandchildren

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 432
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Been to court without a solicitor?

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Sep 14, 2015 3:15 pm

Dear Wilhelmina,

It sound like you are offering a very much needed service for grandparents.

Does your service include seeking contact when children are placed in the care system?
If so, please have a look at our advice sheet 14 about
Contact with children in the care system .

If your service offers advice and support to grandparents who are prevented from seeing their grandchildren in other circumstances, you could contact Grandparents Plus or the
Grandparents Association who both offer expert advice and support.

We don’t have any conferences at the moment but keep an eye on our
news for grandparents carers.

We also have information about setting up support groups that you might find helpful
here.



Best wishes,

Suzie


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