Although the law allows you to represent yourself in court, you should understand that this is likely a poor option that can result in a lost case as well as a frustrating overall experience. While you may prefer to do your own work, the odds are going to be stacked against you without a solicitor. Here are a few reasons why you’ll want to leave the work up to the professionals.
1. Lack of Knowledge
The law is complicated and navigating both the law and a courtroom is a daunting task. Just because you have a good understanding of your situation doesn’t mean that you have the knowledge or the experience to present a compelling and expert case in a courtroom. Medical negligence claims, for example, can become especially complicated, and so only experts in their field that have both the knowledge and experience to navigate these areas should represent you in court.
Just like you wouldn’t do surgery on yourself, you also don’t want to rely only on yourself for legal matters. For the best possible outcome, choose a professional.
2. No or Minimal Experience
Although you may be familiar with legal dramas, you’re probably not familiar with how the court system works in real life. Most people have not appeared in a courtroom before which makes them a poor choice to argue their own medical negligence claim. Additionally, they’ll also be facing a solicitor who has knowledge, training, and experience.
Simply put, you need to know the rules of evidence, when to object, and how to argue with opposing counsel. For example, one of the most complicated claims to pursue would be a medical negligence claim, since knowing all of the clinical guidelines (which most non-experts will not) is key when it comes to winning the claim. Even if you know you have been wronged, you cannot win a claim on the basis that you know you should – you have to be able to know the legal implications of the situation.
3. Potential Incrimination
Since you likely don’t have the knowledge of clinical guidelines or experience to argue a case, you may do more than just represent yourself poorly. There is also the ability to say things that could actually hurt your case. You may state facts that you believe support your case but actually are not a legal defence. Presenting information in an incorrect format could actually incriminate yourself and cause you to lose a case. Medical negligence UK cases have specific guidelines and it’s easy to get into trouble if you don’t have knowledge in this area.
4. Emotional Involvement
The best solicitors advocate for their clients but don’t allow emotion to cloud their judgment. However, if you’re arguing for yourself, you’re probably going to be nervous and you’re also personally interested in the case. This makes for a poor situation where you may resort to making emotional arguments which lessen your chance of success.
Teams of solicitors like The Medical Negligence Experts, who provide services for a specific niche of claims, will be able to approach the cases without emotion, and will also be more well versed in your specific type of claim – for this reason, many of these teams operate on a no win no fee basis, which can be very beneficial to people who have considered defending themselves to save money. The judge will not be swayed by an emotional appeal and may even be irritated.
5. Creating More Work
Although legal cases do take a fair amount of work, not all cases even go to trial. Depending on the evidence, the case may be settled out of court much easier and faster than going through a lengthy trial. An experienced solicitor can help you avoid a courtroom if that’s what you’d prefer and help navigate through the settlement options available. Many people don’t know that these are options or how to use them so you may be creating a great deal more work by representing yourself.
6. The Court Won’t Help You
The people who work in the courtroom are not going to be available to help you if you’re unsure of how to proceed. The clerk is responsible for managing records and providing information. However, they are not allowed to fill out any forms or provide strategy or an evaluation for your case. The judges and the court staff are also not allowed to provide you with any legal advice. Although most judges will take the time to explain your rights and encourage you to find a solicitor, this is the extent of the information that they can provide. You can only depend on yourself during legal proceedings which is why it’s likely not worth representing yourself.
7. Low Chance of Success
Statistics have shown that defendants who represent themselves typically lose. This means that even if you realise that you’re not prepared and then find a solicitor, you may be too late in the case to backtrack. No matter your legal situation, many people find that they regret choosing to represent themselves in the courtroom. Since you likely won’t win by yourself, you’ll want to consider this reason.
These are the primary reasons why you should avoid representing yourself in court. Although it may be tempting to present your case, you likely won’t have the outcome that is desired. Instead, consider finding a good solicitor who has the knowledge and expertise that is needed.