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What is a 'Litigant in Person'?

With the whiplash reforms due to be implemented on 31 May, many people are asking what it means to be a ‘Litigant in Person’. Here we explain all you need to know.

26 April 2021

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On 31 May 2021 the Civil Liability Act 2018 and the Whiplash Injury Regulations, also known as the whiplash reforms, will be implemented in England and Wales. This will affect those who have suffered whiplash injuries as a result of a road traffic accident.

One significant impact of these changes is that any claim for whiplash which is valued at less than £5,000 for the pain and suffering caused by the injury, will not be able to claim their solicitors' fees in addition to the compensation for their injuries.

How can you make a claim for compensation without legal representation?

The new reforms will introduce the MoJ's self-service online portal system called Official Injury Claim. Anyone who has suffered a whiplash injury as a result of a road traffic accident in England and Wales can register a claim on this portal without seeking legal advice.

What is a 'Litigant in Person'?

A Litigant in Person is someone who represents themselves in a civil legal action, without the advice, guidance and representation of a lawyer.

What would a Litigant in Person have to do when making a claim following the whiplash reforms?

Following the whiplash reforms, anyone who acted as a Litigant in Person would have to submit the claim via the MoJ's online portal and represent themselves throughout the claim. In some circumstances this may be straightforward, however, where there are issues, such as if the insurers of the driver refuses to accept fault, a Litigant in Person would have to negotiate and try to bring matters to a successful resolution and if that isn't possible, the Litigant in Person may have to bring the matter to court.

As a Litigant in Person, you would also have to arrange your own medical report by an independent expert who is MedCo accredited. However, there will be guidance on how you can do this through the MoJ's online portal.

Can you get legal representation instead of representing yourself as a Litigant in Person?

Yes. There's nothing in the whiplash reforms which states you can't get your own legal representation. However, your legal fees will not be paid by the insurers of the driver at fault. This means that even if your claim is successful, your legal costs could end up costing you more than you get in compensation, so you may be out of pocket.

Can you get legal representation without the risk of being out of pocket?

We understand that the thought of representing yourself as a Litigant in Person can be daunting as it can be a stressful and complex process.

It's expected that many legal companies in England and Wales will be no longer be providing advice and assistance to those who've suffered whiplash as a result of road traffic accidents as they’re no longer able to recover their fees from the insurer.

However, Slater and Gordon want to ensure everyone has access to legal representation and will therefore be launching the micase platform, a claims portal which allows you to claim compensation, without the stress of dealing with the case yourself as a Litigant in Person. We'll be representing those who are affected by the whiplash reforms on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning we'll charge a small percentage of your compensation payment if you win your case, so there'll be no financial risk.

The micase platform will be launched on 31 May 2021. If you have an accident after that date, register your details on micase and start your claim.

The information contained in this article was correct at the time of publication.

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