Observant little ...

I don't understand the answer, but I may have some ideas on the question...




self-represented parties


I hate dealing with self-represented parties in litigation.

They don't know how to write pleadings. They get offended by the standard formalised language of legal correspondence. They get offended by your use of the word "alleged". Actually, they get offended by every bloody little thing imaginable.

They don't understand that a court order means you actually have to do it. Despite the fact that they don't comply with court orders, they still get a lot of lee-way from the judges.

They say you're being oppressive when you send them a letter longer than 4 pages. Although, they are apparently entitled to send you a 10 page rant which you are supposed to respond to every sentence of, or else you are being obstructive.

They call you up and insist on going over every single little issue or complaint they've had with the government over the last 10 years instead of getting straight to the point and explaining why they've called. Getting them to put anything in writing is like pulling teeth, but half the time, we can't act on anything they've said until they have put it in writing.

I wish I could just get them to go and get some legal advice. Then they'd realise how the case should be run. And maybe then we'd lose. Or consent to withdraw. But at least I wouldn't have to put up with this bullshit!

Sometimes, having to be the model litigant sucks.

Listening to: Augie March - Live at the Northcote Social Club

9 Comments:

Blogger Aurelius said...

Sees himself in some of that.....
*grins*

11:59 am  
Blogger OLS said...

aurelius - okay then, serious question. Why did you represent yourself? I would have thought that it's obvious that the system works better for you when you know how to work the system and it's not that hard to get free, or at least cheap, legal advice these days. So why not get some help from an "expert"? Why go it alone and stuff it up?

Sure I get annoyed that the court gives these guys so much lee-way, but sometimes they do actually have a half decent case, they just have no idea how to present it. And if they presented it properly, they would be keeping the court happy as well. The court hates self-repd parties as well because they take up so much of the court's time. I know this since I've sat in court and had the judge tell the self-repd party that he really ought to get legal representation - something that I can't say unfortunately or I would be seen as being condescending to the other party. But sometimes it's just so obvious... *sigh*

Okay, /rant. But I really would like an answer to my question/s.

- OLS

12:07 pm  
Blogger sarni said...

I think that professionals in any field feel the same way about people who come in as an amateur... I know that I've certainly felt that way at times when I've been working in politics and constituent or someone else who doesn't see the inner workings tells me off for whatever heinous sins I've committed. But I think it's also important to remember that in both politics and law, everyone has a right to access, and whilst they may not be doing it in the most efficient or professional way possible (from our perspective), they have as much right to act the way they do as we have a right to act the way we do.

Of course, it doesn't make it any easier when you've got an asshole on the phone or in front of you. ;-)

1:08 pm  
Blogger QM said...

My best story about an in person litigant was a guy that I chased through the courts for about two years over a relatively small debt. Had little understanding of how to conduct himself or even to communicate coherently, but the magistrates kept hauling him back from the edge of a judgment which we were clearly going to get against him.

The magistrates always advised him to get legal representation and he finally did. Unfortunately, the lawyer acting was crap and made an extremely bad decision which meant that he made a formal offer of settlement not just for the principal (as he intended) but for all of our costs as well. Given that the proceeding had been going for so long, he ended up stuck in a deal to pay twice what he had intended to offer.

In that case, going to a lawyer didn't help him out at all (although I suspect that a lot of the settlement came out of his lawyer's bank account).

2:13 pm  
Blogger QM said...

My best story about an in person litigant was a guy that I chased through the courts for about two years over a relatively small debt. Had little understanding of how to conduct himself or even to communicate coherently, but the magistrates kept hauling him back from the edge of a judgment which we were clearly going to get against him.

The magistrates always advised him to get legal representation and he finally did. Unfortunately, the lawyer acting was crap and made an extremely bad decision which meant that he made a formal offer of settlement not just for the principal (as he intended) but for all of our costs as well. Given that the proceeding had been going for so long, he ended up stuck in a deal to pay twice what he had intended to offer.

In that case, going to a lawyer didn't help him out at all (although I suspect that a lot of the settlement came out of his lawyer's bank account).

2:13 pm  
Anonymous OLS said...

sarni - yeah I know it's hard for self-repd litigants and we have a policy of helping them out as much as possible. But when we make every endeavour to assist and they still get all narkey at me... well, then I lose patience! ;o)

QM - I know, I've dealt with some truly awful lawyers as well, but at least they generally know how to get the matter resolved - how to play the game by the rules if you like.

- OLS

2:48 pm  
Blogger Aurelius said...

OLS,
I should clarify.
I didn't represent myself. But I still see aspects of your rant in myself.
I do though have a tendency to end up in lengthy debates with my Solicitor about strategy, and do believe she's taken the wrong path. But she's playing three tunes simultaneously, only one of which I think she should. But we'll see how it pans out.
Aurelius

3:44 pm  
Blogger Lushlife said...

In my view there are only two things worse than a self-represented person,

1. losing to that person and
2. a bush lawyer

By the way your interviews questions are posted in my comments.

7:13 pm  
Anonymous OLS said...

aurelius - ahhh, okay. I have no problems with my clients discussing (or even arguing about) strategy with me. If your solicitor can't convince you that you should be taking the path/s she recommends, then that's a communication problem from her side. As far as I'm concerned, client's deserve to know what's going on and to have a hand in the running of their case (if they wish to - most don't). After all, it is their case, not the solicitors!

Lushlife - don't even get me started on bush lawyers! They run incredibly silly arguments with no risk to themselves - we've been trying to figure out a way to get White Industries-style costs against them for a while...

And I'll do your interview questions today.

- OLS

9:07 am  

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