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Families representing themselves in court

10 September 2014

Letter to The Times, 10 September 2014

Sir, Making court rules simpler to help families to navigate the justice system is helpful but masks the real problem: families being in court in the first place. Solicitors steer families away from the courts and towards alternatives such as mediation.

When mediation does not work, they encourage clients towards appropriate settlement of cases rather than fully contested hearings.

Without solicitors, parents are being driven to the courts and to representing themselves (report, Sept 8, and letter, Sept 9).

The government's cuts to legal aid, which came into force in April 2013, could easily cost more than the intended savings.

Removing solicitors from the process is a false economy.

It is the families fighting in court and their children who will suffer most.

Andrew Caplen
President, the Law Society

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