The power of representing yourself in court

Powerful lightbulb

When dealing with a legal issue, it can be all too easy to immediately get a lawyer involved – and rely on that legal representative to sort everything out on your behalf, whatever the cost. 

I know this because I have been there – and have seen it done many times in the past.

But there are powerful reasons why this ‘default’ approach may not be in your best interests.  

Let me share 3 of those reasons with you.

You are your own focus

As someone who is representing him or herself in court (known as a ‘litigant in person’ or as ‘unrepresented’), you are your own focus.

By this I mean, you are not one of a number of client files sitting on a desk and you are not juggling a number of clients at once while seeking new clients. 

You are dealing with your case alone and by doing this, you are taking ownership of your case and doing everything you can to move it forward, including reading, researching your options, trying to find solutions and deciding on your next move.

As a litigant in person, you will give your case everything you have because it is that important to you.

It is about your life

You are living and breathing your case and you are personally invested in the outcome. 

This will drive you to find what you need to keep going.  You are the one on this journey and you know, not only what your life is like now, but what you would like your life to look like after you get through this phase. 

Only you can have that vision and focus because it is about your life (and also those closest to you, such as your children).

You can speak for yourself

Have you ever been in court with your legal representative and found that you do not agree with what has been said, are unhappy about a factual error, or have not been given the opportunity to say something important?

I for one can certainly think of instances where I have wanted to make a point but not been given more than one chance to say more, because during proceedings, there is a point where legal representatives will engage with each other in full-blown legal jargon, and at speed.

As a litigant in person you can speak for yourself and make a point when something occurs to you, once you indicate your wish to speak to the judge.  And your hearing will proceed at a slower pace, in recognition of the fact that you are not represented (by a lawyer).

Final thoughts…

While I would always support good legal advice, there are many ways to get that advice and use it as part of your case.

As a litigant in person, you can still get support while you are in court – while still reaping all the benefits mentioned above.

Copyright © Going to Court Alone – Debbie Thomas

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