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No favourable treatment for litigants in person

In a recent case at the High Court, the judge rejected an application from the defendant to move the date of the trial set against them. The defendants in the dispute had decided to represent themselves as ‘litigants in person’ for much of the case to that point although they had taken representation to the hearing.

The application had been made a few weeks before the trial began as the defendants said they needed extra time to address amendments to the claimants’ particulars of claim. The defendants also argued that they needed further time to prepare an expert’s report and for disclosure since they had not had the benefit of legal advice on disclosure.

The judge decided that these weren’t good enough reasons to give the defendants the extra time they asked for, even though he conceded that "some slack" needed to be cut for litigants in person and he appreciated that the defendants had faced difficulties. Although they might suffer prejudice by not having an expert's report for the trial, the defendants had placed themselves in this situation by failing to act quickly enough over a long period of time.

The decision acts as a reminder that the Court may be sympathetic to litigants in person, but they will not be treated favourably because of it. Instead the Court will still make a decision based on certain principles. The best advice for any business facing a dispute is to gain legal representation as soon as possible. For more information or to see how we can help you please contact Sarah Hickey at Lawson-West on 0116 212 1000.

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Coronavirus: It is ‘Business As Usual’ at Lawson-West

We’ve made plans to continue to deliver the best service during the pandemic and we’re committed to helping clients over the coming weeks and months.

From time to time, we will be posting updates about our business operational response to the implications of the virus on our website and on our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

For now, you can be assured that we are ‘Open for Business’ and here to help you with your legal needs. You can email your regular contact at Lawson-West and we will respond, alternatively, email or continue to browse our website at for more information about our services and how to contact us.

We are driven by our commitment to help others.
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Lawson-West Directors

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