We empower people facing court alone
Every year, thousands of people in the UK face court alone. Without help, they have to represent themselves while they go through a divorce, seek custody of their children, defend or put forward a personal injury claim or face eviction from their home. They are forced to navigate a complex legal system alone, often against the professional legal representation of the other party.
The increase in cuts to legal aid over recent years has meant that thousands more people face the civil or family courts alone. Their access to justice is limited by how overwhelming the legal system can be to those who have never faced it before, and many struggle to represent themselves effectively in court.
Our 550+ volunteers provide a free service across England and Wales, offering support and guidance before, during, and after court. We ensure that those facing court alone feel prepared and supported in accessing justice.
- Chair: Peter Crisp - Peter is Vice Chancellor of the University of Law. He is also a qualified barrister.
- Elisabeth Davies - Elisabeth is Chair of the Assurance and Appointments Committee at the General Pharmaceutical Council and Senior Independent Member of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. She is a member of the Civil Justice Council and is also the former Chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel.
- Caroline Field - Caroline is a volunteer at our charity in Liverpool. Caroline has a background in Housing and has served as a Board Director in a number of sectors
- David Wilkin - David is an Emeritus Professor of Health Services Research and a magistrate with extensive experience as a charity trustee in various non-executive roles, including as Chair of Manchester CAB
- Samantha Gargaro - Samantha is a Solicitor with extensive experience of working in private practice. She is currently Director of Birmingham City University Law Clinic.
- Tim Nash - Tim is Chief Executive of Edwin Coe LLP.
- Stephen Adler – Stephen is one of our service volunteers in London and has been a Magistrate in both the criminal and family courts and is also family mediator. Previously, he ran his own management consultancy, advising at Board and Senior Executive level on strategic, operational and business decisions.
- Alexander Hulbert - Alex has been a solicitor for a decade in matrimonial and private affairs, and is now a Director and Chief Operating Officer for one of the country's most respected litigation lending businesses.
- Anthony Fincham - Before retiring in 2019, Anthony was a partner at CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang from 1984.
- Kay-Dene Petgrave - Currently trainee solicitor at BDB Pitmans, Kay-Dene previously worked in paralegal for Bates Wells, and the General Pharmaceutical Council
- Robert Pitt- Robert is one of our volunteers at both the Central Family Court and the Royal Courts of Justice. He is also a management consultant with extensive experience of developing and implementing business and technology strategy and driving business change.
- Zubair Chaudry - Zubair joined HMRC in 2014, now working as a tax litigator in the Solicitors' Office. Since 2019, he has also sat as a Magistrate.
- Ben Moore - Ben is a Civil Servant currently working as Head of Cross-Cutting Strategy at the Ministry of Justice. Before that, he has worked in a range of policy and strategy roles and completed the Civil Service Fast Stream, where he spent 6 months on secondment at Support Through Court.
- Martin Lewis OBE
- The Rt Hon The Baroness Hale of Richmond
- The Rt Hon Sir Terence Etherton, Master of the Rolls
- The Rt Hon The Lady Butler-Sloss
- The Rt Hon The Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony
- The Rt Hon Lord Dyson
- The Rt Hon The Lord Neuberger
- The Rt Hon The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers
- The Rt Hon The Lord Thomas
- The Rt Hon The Lord Woolf
- The Rt Hon The Lord Judge
- The Rt Hon The Lord Burnett of Maldon, Lord Chief Justice
- The Rt Hon The Lord Reed of Allermuir
- The Rt Hon Dame Sarah Asplin
Our Business Board champion the work we do, supporting us in various ways, but primarily through linking us with communities, businesses and organisations passionate about access to justice. Current members are:
- Tim Nash, CEO of Edwin Coe
- Wilf White, Director of Engagement and Public Engagement at the Bar Standards Board
- Nick Luckman, Practice Director at Wilberforce Chambers
- Isabelle Brennan, Director Real Estate Finance, M&G Investments
- Asim Butt - 25 years at a top 50 law firm previously as a director of motor and counter-fraud claims solutions, sitting on their executive board and now as a consultant.
In 2001, Diana Copisarow OBE, a volunteer for the Witness Service at the Old Bailey was approached for help by a woman without representation about to go through a divorce from her barrister husband at the Royal Courts. Under great stress, she faced a confusing court system and uncertainty about appearing before a judge. Diana and Michael Naish, the Director of the Witness Service were so horrified at the experience and lack of support in the civil courts, they set up our charity, with the help of Mark Sheldon, CBE from Linklaters, and also seed funding from this law firm to meet the needs of people going through the court system alone.
The Litigant in Person Support Strategy
The Litigant in Person Support Strategy is a national partnership working together to improve the experience of people facing the legal process alone; by improving access to information, practical support, advice and representation. The partners are:
The Litigant in Person Support Strategy is funded by the Ministry of Justice and the Legal Education Foundation.