The Family Court: Representing Yourself

Due to the cost of legal representation and the cuts in public funding, many people feel that they cannot afford a solicitor to represent them.   If you decide to represent yourself in an application to the family court, you are called a Litigant in Person.  

We can advise you about how best to prepare your application, what to expect form the process and how to maximise your chances of getting what you want.  This is essential advice and can make all the difference to your case.  We can provide discreet advice at any point in the process with no on-going obligation which will significantly limit your legal costs but maximise your chances of success (this is often referred to as unbundling).

If you are preparing to attend the Family court as an Applicant or Respondent and do not know what to expect, we recommend you look at the series of short videos entitled ‘Family Courts without a Lawyer’

Litigants in Person can also get help or assistance in the form of: 

  1. Personal Support Unit – volunteers at court who offer practical and emotional support but not legal advice.
  2. MacKenzie Friends – someone, often a friend, who can provide moral and practical support before and at the hearing, e.g. preparing papers, taking notes, and give advice.  They are not allowed to ‘represent you’ i.e. speak for you in court.
  3. Duty Solicitor – some courts now run a system whereby solicitors from local firms volunteer to provide free legal advice at court. 

Check with your local court as in Bristol there are a number of other support services which can all be found at the Family Court Information site under the heading ‘I need support at court’.


Contact our team of expert family solicitors to discuss your needs. We offer confidential FREE first advice. Call our team on 0117 929 0333 or email.

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