The party litigant in the Scottish civil courts

Turner, Halle (2018) The party litigant in the Scottish civil courts. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The last several years have seen an increased interest in self-represented litigants in the civil courts, known in Scotland as “party litigants.” Following legal aid reforms in England and Wales, the number of self-representing litigants in that jurisdiction has risen significantly, and many believe that the number of party litigants in Scotland is increasing as well. Views on self-representing litigants can be divisive: some are deeply concerned for their access to justice in a system of courts primarily designed for lawyers, while others view them as a nuisance causing unnecessary delay and expense. On both sides of this spectrum, indications of an increase in the number of party litigants in the courts is cause for concern. However, although an entire chapter of the report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review was devoted to party litigants, there has been a lack of research and little is known about self-representation in Scotland.

This thesis makes an original contribution to the knowledge in this area by offering a survey of Scots law as it relates to the party litigant and an insight into how the law functions in practice. Traditional legal research was conducted to establish what the law and rules of court say (and do not say) to assist or regulate party litigants in the civil court process, as well as how judges exercise their discretion in relation to party litigants. Empirical research was also carried out in the form of interviews with judges, solicitors and court staff, as well as court observation, and the thesis considers how the law and rules are applied in practice and both how the civil court process challenges party litigants and how party litigants can disrupt the typical operation of the process. Other aspects of self-representation, including the role of the judge and the adversarial nature of the process, along with the potential impact of self-representation on represented parties involved in cases with party litigants, are also discussed. Finally, a number of conclusions are offered as to the present state of self-representation in the civil courts and the relationship between the law in principle and the law in practice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Access to justice, civil procedure, administration of justice.
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales > KDC Scotland
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Tom, Professor Mullen
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Ms Halle Turner
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-30665
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2018 14:35
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2018 07:33

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