Rude solicitor? Hopefully, you haven’t encountered one but they are out there.
Some lawyers can find dealing with litigants in person (people using the courts without legal representation) to be a difficult experience.
The Law Society, Bar Council and CILEx have issued guidance to lawyers and how to deal with litigants in person. The advice includes avoiding technical and legal jargon or using inflammatory words and phrases. You can read the guide in full here.
The guidance recommends that lawyers should “communicate in a manner of which the court would approve, which includes treating litigants in person with courtesy and in a way that any ordinary person would regard as fair and reasonable.” If you find a rude solicitor, remind them (and the Judge if at a court hearing) of the guidance.
The guidance also explains how litigants in person should behave themselves.
Our experience is that most lawyers and judges will treat litigants in person with respect and will not try to take advantage of the situation. However, legal professionals who suffer abuse from litigants in person cannot be expected to exercise total restraint nor to be as helpful. After all, lawyers are just people doing their jobs and when faced with a rude, aggressive or abusive individual, may well react or respond differently than under normal circumstances.
It is anticipated that the Civil Procedure Rules Committee is going to clarify and amend the court’s powers when dealing with litigants in person. We will keep you up-to-date with developments.