It is sometimes the case that the other side has a solicitor dealing when you do not. There is no obligation or expectation that parties have solicitors involved in small claims. Indeed, the small claims track is intended to allow parties to use it without having lawyers involved at all.
The solicitor acting for your opponent is under no duty to help you understand the process or what you need to do and when. However, solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority which gives guidelines to them and what they must do (and not do) in certain circumstances.
The SRA Code deals with what lawyers ought to do when dealing with unrepresented parties including:
- Not taking unfair advantage which could include bullying, unjustifiable threats and claiming or demanding what cannot be properly cleaned or demanded (in small claims for example to argue that all legal costs will be recovered from you)
- Not misleading or attempting to mislead the court or others (including you you)
Drawing to the court’s attention to any relevant cases or statutory provisions which the court ought to be aware of
- Acting in a way that upholds the public trust and confidence in the legal profession
- Upholding the principal of the rule law (in short – the laws of the land must be obeyed)
- Acting with independence, honesty and integrity.
Clearly, a solicitor bringing a claim on behalf of its client (or defending such a claim) will argue their client’s best case. Doing so is not unreasonable. It is possible however that solicitors will overstep the mark when dealing with a litigant in person and if they do, you may wish to remind them of the SRA Code of Conduct in particular paragraphs 1.2, 1.4 and 2.7.