On 17th January 2023, the industry regulator, the Bar Standards Board decided to hand down an order imposing a ban on a barrister preventing him from continuing to practise after evidence emerged
Judiciary Set To Do More To Help Litigants In Person
On 19th April 2022, the England and Wales Judiciary released a Report on the use of electronic bundles in the Financial Remedies Court. It sought to highlight some of the recent trends which had emerged and wanted to address a few issues.
What Did The Report Find?
The esteemed judges of the Financial Remedies Court focussed on the trends which had emerged during the previous two years. They reported that they have seen evidence of a shift from the relatively rareuse of electronic bundles to their use. The main headline from the report is the judiciary’s concerns about the plight of litigants who attend in person when charting a course through the England and Wales court system. It has spotted a widespread trend that appears to have moved from very few cases experiencing the use of electronic bundles to the significant majority.
Far from being disappointed by the majority of cases involving litigants in person using electronic bundles, the judiciary appears to be very pleased with the apparent direction of travel.
What Forms Do Litigants In Person Need To Complete And What Information Needs To Be Provided?
In the Report the judiciary highlighted some of the confusion experienced by litigants in person in the Financial Remedies Court. The first issue the judiciary shone a light on was evidence that Forms ES1 and ES2 are not being completed. These forms are important as ES1 sets out a summary of the case being submitted and Form ES2 documents the income, assets, and liabilities of the parties.
Have There Been Any Other Issues And How Can They Be Overcome?
Electronic bundles have caused a few problems for litigants in person and the judiciary sought to clarify some of them. These persons have neither been completing the correct forms nor providing the correct information to the courts. The judiciary in the report also highlighted the pressing problem faced by many litigants in person which is the lack of basic computer skills to compile electronic bundles.
Proceed With Caution Litigants In Person
In the report, the judiciary advises prospective litigants in person to communicate with the court as soon as possible and provide it with plenty of notice of the computer difficulties being experienced. The judiciary appears to be asking the parties to further the overriding objective by collaborating closely and pragmatically together. Depending on the nature of the relationships which subsist at the time, an example of such a practical approach would be for the prospective litigant in person to ask the respondent to support the respective claimant to compile the e-bundle. To underline the point directly, the judiciary made it clear that it seeks to encourage all parties to work together to take this approach. The judiciary helpfully provided some guidance if both parties lacked the IT resources to compile the bundle of documents. In this regard, the report suggested that the courts will work collaboratively with the affected parties to find a reasonable solution to the problem.
Everybody’s Happy, Right?
The reader may think on reading this report that this is the end of the story and they all lived happily ever after. However, this is the legal profession and in this reader’s experience, it rarely ends like that. Commenting on the recent report the President of the Law Society, Stephanie Boyce said it shone a spotlight on the ongoing issues litigants in person are still up against when wading their way through the court system. Many such persons are at risk of being left behind by digitization, their trouble comprehending the rules, and procedures, and not understanding what their rights are.
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THE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES
 Mostyn, Justice, et al. – Notice From the Financial Remedies Court – Electronic Bundles – Judiciary - 18 April 2022 - Notice from the Financial Remedies Court: Electronic Bundles | Courts and Tribunals Judiciary
 FPR 2010 PD27A, the Statement of Efficient Conduct of 11 January 2022, the President’s Guidance on E-Bundles of 21 December 2021, and the General Guidance on Electronic Bundles of 29 January 2021
 Founder, Monidipa – Bundles guidance ‘highlights litigants-in-person struggles’ – The Law Society Gazette - 22 April 2022 - Bundles guidance 'highlights litigant-in-person struggles' | News | Law Gazette
 Rule 1 – Civil Procedure Rules 1998