Litigant in Person Fails to Get Trial Adjourned
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A Claimant, who had brought a claim herself, without using a solicitor, lost an application to adjourn a trial for two weeks.
The trial was due to start at the beginning of 5 October 2015.
The Defendant had an obligation to provide certain documents to the Claimant by 29 September 2015. On 30 September 2015 the Claimant applied to the Court for further and better disclosure by the Defendant, and for the trial to be adjourned. The Claimant argued that without the further documents, she could not prepare properly for trial, and that she needed more time to consider the new documents because she was a litigant in person.
The application was refused as the judge said the requirement for further documents could be dealt with at Trial if necessary.
The Court also gave useful guidance about the circumstances in which an adjournment of a Trial might be granted. The important factors in this case were that:
- An adjournment would have a "very considerable" impact;
- The Defendant had already incurred substantial costs;
- That the Defendant's costs would be duplicated or lost if the trial was adjourned;
- The claim had by this stage been ongoing for nearly 8 years; and
- The adjournment would be likely to last for several months, if it was granted.
The judge gave the Claimant just a few extra days to consider the further documents ad prepare for Trial.
This case highlights how important it is to be prepared for Trial, well in advance. It also reminds litigants in person of the difficulties they can face if they are unrepresented.
At Samuels Solicitors, we recognise that access to justice can be difficult. This is why we have developed a range of flexible funding arrangements for our clients, which can include conditional (no win no fee) agreements for clients with very strong cases.