3 Dec 2015

Call for review of civil justice system

From Nine To Noon, 9:35 am on 3 December 2015

A new study on those who represent themselves in civil court has found the system works against them, and they can face prejudice from judges and lawyers. Bridgette Toy-Cronin is a former lawyer whose PhD thesis at the University of Otago, has looked into the experience of litigants who forgo a lawyer in civil cases in the family, districts and high courts. She says a lack of money to hire a lawyer is not the only reason, with previous negative experiences or a belief lawyers are uncessesary, among decisions to self-represent.Ms Toy-Cronin says while judges and court staff want to maintain the appearance that courts are accessible to ordinary people, much more needs to be done for this to be a reality - and a review of the civil legal system is needed.