Litigants In Person – leading Family Judge goes public to the BBC with concerns

The Law Society Gazette has recently reported on the difficulties faced by people representing themselves in family law cases, as a result of cuts to legal aid.

His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood QC, the most senior family court judge at Bristol Civil Justice Centre, recently took part in a revealing BBC Inside Out West investigation, citing the increasing pressures on the family court system. 80% of family cases are estimated to have at least one party who does not have legal representation.

The programme can be viewed on the BBC iPlayer.

HHJ Wildblood highlighted the challenges of an unrepresented person entering a courtroom full of legal experts and other professionals, in particular, where that unrepresented person does not speak English as a first language.

HHJ Wildblood has come up with an innovative way of highlighting his concerns about the reality of courtroom life: he has written his own plays, based on his personal experience. Scenes include a mother with learning difficulties, who simply does not understand what is going on during the hearing, and a judge being shouted at by a father who faces losing his children.

Hall Smith Whittingham LLP has a well-established and experienced family department, and a legal aid contract, with the Legal Aid Agency, to cover all areas of family law. We are able to advise you as to your eligibility for legal aid at the commencement of your matter, and are also able to offer unbundled legal advice and representation, dependent upon budget. We would strongly recommend that you do not go to court, alone, without speaking to one of our family lawyers first. We would like to help you, if we can.

To see how we might be able to help you, please contact us today on 01270 610300 (Nantwich) or 01270 212000 (Crewe). We offer ALL clients a free initial meeting to consider your next steps and options that are available to you. Contact one of our Family Lawyers today for your free initial meeting.