The Snakes and Ladders of Legal Participation: Litigants in Person and the Right to a Fair Trial under Article 6 ECHR

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Abstract

This article reviews the right to a fair trial under Article 6 ECHR for litigants in person (LIPs). LIPs operate in a system that was not designed for them and so challenge the norm of fully represented parties as the system has evolved to expect, creating potential risks for their Article 6 rights. The jurisprudence on Article 6 reveals the centrality of effective participation as a requirement for fulfilling the right to a fair trial. The article views the jurisprudential interpretation against original and significant empirical research data on how LIPs participate in civil and family court processes. It applies a conceptual analysis of legal participation to consider what effective participation in court proceedings might be comprised of and, through the empirical evidence, categorises the intellectual, practical, emotional and attitudinal barriers that LIPs face in their legal proceedings, which can constitute risks to LIPs’ rights under Article 6.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Litigants in person
  • participation
  • access to justice
  • article 6 ECHR
  • fair trial

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