In 2013/14 almost 20,000 more parents went to court without a lawyer, according to government figures released as a consequence of a Freedom of Information request. The rise in unrepresented parents contesting child contact and residence cases follows the withdrawal of legal aid from family lawyers in April 2013 for most private family law matters. Although the government changes were intended to reduce the number of parents proceeding to court, cuts to legal aid have resulted in an annual increase. However, it is the increase in the number of unrepresented parents that will be likely to cause most concern. For the first time ever, over half (57%) of all parents who attended court in 2013/14 in private law children proceedings did so without a lawyer to represent them. In total, family courts dealt with 19,140 more unrepresented parents. Judges and magistrates have warned of the pressure the courts are suffering as a result of the rise in the number of litigants in person.
Full story courtesy of Family Law Week.
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