What is a Self-Represented Litigant?
A Self-Represent Litigant (SLR) or unrepresented party is someone who doesn’t have a lawyer to present their case in Court.
I can’t afford to pay a solicitor to go to Court
The high cost of legal representation and lengthy delays in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court, are forcing parties to represent themselves in Court to resolve their property settlement and parenting arrangement.
To assist self-represented litigants in the Family Court of Australia, Family Court of Western Australia and Federal Circuit Court, there are a range of volunteer, government and community based organisations that can assist parties with the legal process and provide legal advice. Unfortunately, these organisations don’t have the resources to draft legal documents.
I need help with preparing my court documents
Correctly drafted legal documents, such as the orders you are seeking from the Court or Affidavit can be instrumental to the quick and desirable resolution of your matter. Too often, people without experience in legal drafting will include unnecessary or inappropriate information in their legal documents, instead of focusing on facts relevant to their matter. Well written and accurate documents supporting your matter will give the Court the best possible view of your position. Incorrectly drafted legal documents may place the parties at risk of a miscarriage of justice and effect the Judge’s ability to make a decision that provides a ‘just and equitable‘ property settlement and parenting orders that are in the ‘best interests‘ of the child.
Property issues in dispute?
Here is how to identify and narrow issues in dispute*
All parties are required to make full and frank disclosure to assist the Court in the determination of the dispute or the parties in the resolution of the dispute.
Applications should only be brought before the court if they are reasonably justified on the material available.
It is expected that parties will negotiate both prior to, and at court, in order to narrow the issues in dispute before having the matter heard.
When appropriate, a single expert or an assessor should be engaged to assist the parties and the Court to resolve disputes.
Costs consequences may flow if parties seek to reopen issues already resolved or unreasonably agitate issues.
Parenting issues in dispute?
Before you apply to the court*
Before you can apply to the court for parenting orders, including those seeking to change an existing parenting order you will need to participate in pre-action procedures, including attending a Family Dispute Resolution Conference.
Resolving issues this way is less formal than going to court and should cost less in money, time and emotion. Since both parties are involved in shaping a solution, it improves the chances that an agreement will be long lasting.
If there is a history of family violence or child abuse, it may not be appropriate to attend family dispute resolution. Speak to staff at the family dispute resolution service about your options and the support services that are available.
For information on the pre-action procedures requirements in the Federal Circuit Court:
For information on the pre-action procedures requirements in the Family Court:
To find a family dispute resolution service provider in your local area, call the Family Relationships Advice Line on 1800 050 321 or go to www.familyrelationships.gov.au.
We can assist you with the legal process, including which Court to file in and what documents to use.
*Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia