Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Self-Represented Litigant Definition:

An individual who represents himself or herself in a dispute proceeding before Court.

Related Terms: Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument Litigant, McKenzie Friend, Party Litigant, Litigant

In a 2011 reports made by a working group in England and Wales, known as the Civil Justice Council, and entitled Access to Justice for Litigants in Person (Or Self-Represented Litigants), these observations:

"Self-represented litigants are users of the civil justice system, and the system exists for its users.....

"In many cases members of the public, as defendants to civil proceedings, will have no option but to attempt to represent themselves or allow judgment to be entered in default of a response to the claimant’s case. In many other cases, members of the public with good claims will be left with no option but to abandon their rights and leave problems unresolved and potentially worsening, unless they are prepared to attempt to represent themselves....

"The exception is, of course, the vexatious litigant (see the legal definition of a vexatious action) and others for whose ends the system was not designed. It will be important to identify these individuals robustly so that precious resources are not used on them. The system will need to differentiate between them, and the vast majority of self-represented litigants who are and will be those who do need to access the system or have been brought into the system as defendants. The system will need to be supported in this differentiation."

Sometimes called a litigant in person or, in Scotland, still, as of 2013, a party-litigant.


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