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Litigants in person top issue for family lawyers

People who represent themselves in court are the biggest issue facing family law, according to a new survey.

In their annual Matrimonial Survey, financial advice firm Grant Thornton UK found that 21 per cent of family law professionals believed litigants in person (LIPs) were the most significant issue they face. Other popular choices were the lack of legal aid in family law cases and the courts not being fit for purpose.

All three of these issues ranked highly in the 2014 survey, indicating that they are not new problems. Similarly, the areas of legislation most respondents said they would like to change were also unchanged from last year. The introduction of ‘no fault’ divorce and legal protections for cohabiting couples both scored very highly.

Nick Andrews, a partner at Grant Thornton UK, said the survey revealed that “professionals still remain concerned that the court system is not fit for purpose to support LIPs” despite the introduction of a single family court.

Family law professionals were also asked about patterns they had noticed in the divorce cases they dealt with. Solicitors reported a noticeable increase in the average age of people seeking divorce this year. Although the vast majority of clients – 74 per cent – were between 40 and 49 years old, 15 per cent were between 50 and 59. This represents a seven percent rise from 2014.

The survey also found that the majority of marriages – 61 per cent – last between 11 and 20 years.

To read the full survey results, click here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Wistilia says:

    Family Lawyers have issues with LIPs…

    Well what a surprise $$$

    • Luke says:

      Yes Wistilla, but we shouldn’t be too critical, people put some professions on a pedestal but it’s a nonsense – we expect too much.
      Most lawyers are worried about their own careers and are primarily interested in how much they can earn – people who think their chief concern is the general public are extremely naive.
      Lawyers other concerns generally follow a similar pattern, for instance ‘legal protections for cohabiting couples’ is quite a funny statement in the way it is spun because in reality it also means massive financial liabilities including legal costs for at least one party in a cohabiting couple. It would be a financial bonanza for lawyers and that is why they generally are so keen to introduce it.
      When I was a child there was a similar view about GP’s – it was thought that they were somehow different – they’re not.
      In reality with notable exceptions to the rule it’s always all about the money.

  2. B says:

    Having been through FCP I think at least litigants in person can have control of their own case and not be bullied by their own legal representatives to trust them in the way the case is allowed to proceed, these courts have now changed whereby split cases have been done away with, and a litigation friend is allowed, hopefully next, will be witnesses being able to speak without worrying of any reprisals from Social Services Departments against their own family for speaking the truth,
    As a Grandparent my experience although it does not state within this appeal were also acussed of being the perpetrators of this case that was investigated by Cleveland Police, ending in UNCONDITIONAL RELEASE when questioned WHY? NO INJURIES but we do not know what they are going to do? pointing towards Social Service Building
    Well this is what they did, by changing my Grandsons name from his birth certified name, to Christian name, followed by fathers surname, followed by mothers surname into a name according to the hospital records, does not exist
    The second part of this judgement which is not printed joins the split case together in the name of a child that has never existed, with no further appeal allowed to change the FALSE Childs Name

    • CB says:

      Further to this comment the failings in the whole FCP of my Grandson was down to the Guardian Ad Litem her failure to protect my Family within the whole Court proceedings was down to her application to the court by changing my grandsons name and covering up his birth Brain damage, and complete abuse of FCP in the setting down of his birth certified name incorrectly (on Perppse)

  3. Wistilia says:

    Exactly Luke!

  4. Family Lawyer says:

    these issues should be resolved…

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