Information for Litigants in Person

This page aims to gather all relevant information about court rules and procedure to assist those who wish to engage in court proceedings without legal representation.


Personal Litigants

For further information and guidance on court rules,procedures and a glossary of legal terms read our personal litigants guide

NICTS staff

NICTS  staff  are  ready  to  help  you  in  whatever way  they can,    however please understand that resources and the time available to staff are limited.

NICTS staff can

  • provide you with general information about the court / tribunal
  • give you general information on court / tribunal rules, procedures and practices
  • provide you with forms [that you have identified] or tell you how to obtain them
  • give you some basic help in completing some forms, but they cannot tell you what to say in a form about your case

They cannot

  • give you legal advice about your case
  • express an opinion on your case or give you advice about whether you should file a case /commence proceedings, or whether you should take any particular action in a case
  • recommend a course of action
  • recommend a particular solicitor
  • tell you what to say in court or at a tribunal hearing
  • comment on the outcome of your case or on a judicial decision
  • deal with complaints about the legal profession or a judicial officer;
  • provide copies of court documents (unless the appropriate fees are paid) or
  • complete forms on your behalf

Litigation is inevitably difficult and it is preferable to seek legal advice or assistance from an advice agency.

What assistance is available to you?

  • You may be entitled to receive legal aid. A solicitor will be able to advise you if you qualify for legal aid or you can contact the Legal Services Agency via this website or via telephone 028 9040 8888
  • A list of solicitors firms throughout Northern Ireland is available on the Law Society’s website, or you can contact the Society by via telehone 028 9023 1614
  • The Citizens Advice Bureau Northern Ireland offers free, impartial, confidential and independent advice and direction to members of the public. There are 27 main offices across Northern Ireland and the addresses of individual branches can be found on the citizensadvice website.
  • Housing Rights (HR) provide free, independent advice and representation at court for people facing homelessness. You can contact HR on 028 9024 5640 or visit the housingrights website
  • Advice NI is the umbrella organisation for a number of free independent advice agencies. You can contact Advice NI on 028 9064 5919 or visit their website, www.adviceni.net.
  • A guide to proceedings in the High Court has been developed to assist those who are starting or continuing litigation in the High Court without a legal representative. Staff can provide you with a copy of the guide.
  • Information about the Tribunals administered by the NICTS and the assistance available for advice and representation in each individual tribunal may be found at the Tribunals section of this website.  The Tribunal Hearing Centre (including the Belfast Office of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) is located in the Royal Court of Justice.

Please do not ask staff for legal advice as they are unable to provide this.

Bankruptcy

For information on bankruptcy proceedings read our bankruptcy guide

Family Court Forms 

All forms used in our Family Courts are available at the courts publication section of this website.

    Legislation

    For specific legislation or practice directions issued by the Judiciary NI you will be redirected externally to the following

    Probate

    Here you will find information to some of the key information sources & forms needed during the preparation of documents for probate business in Northern Ireland. Use this link to view all available information. 

    Fees 

    Further information on court fees is available at our publication section of this website

    Other Contacts

    The Insolvency Service of Northern Ireland is responsible for the administration and investigation of bankruptcy and companies in liquidation, disqualification of directors, regulating the insolvency profession as well as NI-specific legislation and policy.

    You can find out more about their services on the Department for the Economy website

    Litigants in Person Reference Group

    The Litigants in Person reference group was set up to identify ways to improve the experience of personal litigants in the courts system of Northern Ireland. It will focus primarily, but not exclusively on family courts and will examine two main areas:

    • Information and support
    • Relationships with others in the justice system

    In September 2018 the School of Law at Ulster University in partnership with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission published a research report which highlighted challenges faced by litigants in person involved in civil or family courts.

    Following the report's publication, the Department of Justice in consultation with Ulster University and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, established a Litigants in Person Reference Group, with a view to identifying ways to improve the experience of personal litigants in the court system.

    The Group is comprised of past or current litigants in person (up to eight at present) and one person nominated from each of the following organisations or sectors - Department of Justice, NICTS, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, School of Law, Ulster University, Voluntary sector, a practising solicitor, a practising barrister, and a member of the Judiciary.

    The Reference Group meets quarterly. At its first meeting (held in February 2019) it was agreed that a Progress Report summarising key decisions and the activities of the Reference Group should be published following each meeting, together with the Group’s Terms of Reference.

    For further information and progress on the group visit Litigants in Person Reference Group publications 

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