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Title: The right to litigate in person
Author: Assy, Rabeea
ISNI:       0000 0003 7009 7672
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Litigation in person is a widespread phenomenon in common law jurisdictions. A right to litigate in person is treated as a fundamental right, regardless of whether the litigant has the financial means to hire a lawyer or the capacity to conduct litigation effectively. Due to the high numbers of litigants in person and the various burdens placed on judicial resources by their lack of legal knowledge, they pose a serious challenge to the effective and efficient administration of justice. This thesis assesses the theoretical value of a right to self-representation, and challenges the position that courts should not impose legal representation on a litigant nor require him to obtain such representation as a condition for litigation. It argues that a litigant who lacks the professional knowledge and skills to present his case effectively cannot legitimately insist upon representing himself if in doing so he is likely to inflict disproportionate costs on his opponent and on the administration of justice. This thesis advances the case for mandatory representation in civil proceedings on three main fronts: a comparison with the criminal context, an assessment of the value of self-representation in terms of outcome, and an examination of its possible intrinsic justifications.
Supervisor: Zuckerman, Adrian Sponsor: Clarendon
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Law ; civil procedure ; Legal philosophy ; litigation in person ; litigants in person ; pro se litigants ; personal autonomy ; access to justice ; access to court ; plan English movement ; law and language ; human rights ; fair trial