Are you a self represented Claimant in a David and Goliath situation, and without any legal training or knowledge?
The view taken by Goliath, (the big companies) is that you are supposed to know your place and not challenge the ‘big boys’.
Well here’s a news flash for the ‘big boys’…self-represented Claimants are on the rise and they are also a force to be reckoned with!
If you study any well-known David and Goliath case, you will see that the Goliaths, (the big companies), do not play fair and that dirty tactics are often used.
You may be offered a large sum of money to settle the case, (and also to also keep your mouth shut), like me, if you don’t accept it, you then have to prepare yourself for a long drawn out battle.
You will have to be very resourceful and do your homework. For example:
- You should try to raise the profile of your case, by setting up a website or joining online forums to publicize your case, (trying not to reveal too much detail) and invite people to come to any hearings that take place, emphasizing the fact that it will be a public hearing.
- Write as much as you can in your skeleton arguments and witness statements as the Judge will not necessarily include everything you say in your oral arguments.
- Always bring as many people as possible with you to the Tribunal and Court and ask them to take notes on your behalf. This will come in handy for when you are putting together your legal arguments together after the hearing. These individuals will also act as your witnesses as to what went on during the proceedings.
- As a litigant in person, you are entitled to bring a friend into court to provide assistance. In the UK this person is known as a McKenzie Friend.
- Don’t be quick to shout bias. This will go against you. The Tribunals and Courts hate it when you accuse one of their own of this.
- Before you go before a Judge, find out as much as you can about their record.
- Go to the Tribunal or Court to listen to cases.
- Check out caught.net or the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) website and look up the judge to see if they have been disciplined or had any complaints made about them before.
- Don’t try to use the JCIO website to make a complaint about the judge though, as this is not permitted.
- If you want to make a complaint, you should use the Tribunal or Court’s own complaints procedure, this procedure is for making complaints about the administrative side of things), for example failures to write to you, respond to your correspondence within the specified time-frames etc.
- You can’t use the Tribunal or Court’s complaints procedure to complain about the Judges decision or their handling of your case.
- You should also google the judge to find out if anyone has been successful in appealing their decision before.
- You an also check out the many websites available on the internet which will let you know whether or not you are dealing with an unscrupulous legal professional. For example, try doing a google search on ‘cowboy solicitors’.
- If the respondent is legally represented, you can also ask the respondent to send you copies of case law and authorities and copy in the Tribunal when you do.
It will look bad if they refuse, as they subscribe to databases containing case law.
- In the UK, University students have access to Westlaw and Lexis, (quite expensive legal databases that you have to subscribe to), so if you know a University student, you could ask them to search for a case on your behalf.
Try to research case law/legal cases relevant to your situation. Some good sites to go on are:
Bailii: Free (UK based)
Google Scholar: Free (International)
Fastcase: 24 hour free trial/ $65 per month after that. (US based)
Workrep: Free (UK based)
Law handbook: Free (Australian based)
TLSC has made a helpful video for self-represented Claimants based in the United States.
More and more people in the United Kingdom are finding that they have no choice but to represent themselves because of the legal aid cuts.