Re: B 2016 EWHC 2365 - Timely Service of documents and litigants in person

In the recent case of Re: B 2016 EWHC 2365 the High Court provided guidance about when documentation should be served on litigants in person (a person without legal representation).  Prior to a hearing it is necessary to complete a Court bundle with all of the documents that are intended to be used in a case.  Where one party is a litigant in person and the other is represented, the represented party will be preparing this bundle.

In the case of Re: B the litigant in person was served with a position statement and law reports which equated to 114 pages just before the hearing.  Further, the litigant in person was unable to speak English.

The High Court highlighted how unfair receiving documents late could be for litigants in person and stated that where one party is represented and the other is not, the Court should normally direct the preliminary documents to be served on the litigant in person at least three days before the final hearing, especially where the litigant in person is not fluent in English.  It was decided that in cases where a litigant in person was served with documents late, a Court might consider adjourning the hearing with a view to allowing the litigant in person to spend time reviewing and considering the document to ensure a fair process at Court.

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