Reading the online Law Society’s Gazette as I do I was saddened today to read a well meaning article in which a woman writer had written about her conversation with a litigant in person about her personal experience of fighting a family issue by herself as a litigant in person. The woman in question had apparently spent £50K on legal fees with barristers charging her £500 an hour.
The point of the article was about the way the solicitor’s profession is failing these sorts of litigants and how as a result of the cost the woman in question had decided to go it alone.
So you might have expected a response of overwhelming concern from a body of professionals wanting to pitch in and help. But no – instead there were wailings about how accurate could this account be if the woman told her story in a pub – how she must have got it wrong and that no barrister ever charges £500 a hour – most of those responding discounted the story as complete rubbish.
I just found this incredibly frustrating and sad. Yes it costs money to provide a service – I know that as much as anyone but do we really have to rubbish a person because they dared to tell their story in a pub rather than in a solicitor’s office? May be the story was exaggerated, or over embellished but we don’t know that. We would need to pull out some proper evidence before saying that. At first sight the case raises issues that should be addressed.
The point of the article – which seemed to me to have been completed missed -nwas that the person couldn’t afford the £50K to defend her position and she had to go it alone. The question then is not whether she was telling the truth – the question is what can be done to stop this sort of situation happening to her and to thousands of other people. Legal services are not cheap, legal aid is disappearing, and yet people still need access to good advice.
So instead of moaning about the truth of the story what’s the answer to help people in this situation without spending a fortune?
- Unique Post