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Placing litigants in person at the centre of the post-LASPO family court process

Mant, Jess ORCID: 2020. Placing litigants in person at the centre of the post-LASPO family court process. Child and Family Law Quarterly 32 (4) , 421.

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The reforms to legal aid eligibility under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012 have had significant implications for the accessibility of advice and representation in private family law. In addition to exacerbating several existing problems within the family justice system, LASPO has resulted in an increased number of litigants in person (LIPs), including many who are now ineligible despite being on the lowest incomes. This article argues that, in amplifying these problems so significantly, LASPO can be thought to offer an opportunity to reflect on the well-documented problems that LIPs face in the family court, and to start learning from the diverse range of LIPs who are using this process. The article uses an analytical lens drawn from feminist legal theory to draw together existing literature with the findings of a recent small-scale research project, which involved interviews with LIPs after LASPO. In doing so, this article contributes new empirical data, building upon the existing evidence base on LIPs, and provides an explicitly feminist analysis of this evidence, which reveals fresh insights into self-representation after LASPO. Using this lens, it explores LIPs’ experiences and perceptions in relation to two key elements of the legal process: advice-seeking and advocacy. This analysis provides important insight into the different ways that LIPs respond to the challenges they face within this process, how these responses may be bound up in broader experiences of social inequality within society, and how this might inform the diversity of support needs that LIPs have when they arrive at the family court.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Law & Politics
Publisher: Jordan Publishing
ISSN: 1358-8184
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 September 2020
Date of Acceptance: 14 September 2020
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2023 04:30

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