Not for the Faint of Heart: The Right to Self-Representation in New Zealand

45 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2017

See all articles by Louise Grey

Louise Grey

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: June 25, 2017

Abstract

The approach of common law jurisdictions to the right to self-representation is contradictory. Although strongly upheld, in practice its exercise is challenging and frowned upon. Discourse around self-represented litigants is often negative and frames these individuals as problematic for the civil justice system. This paper seeks to reframe the self-representation debate. Firstly, I explain the context behind the self- representation phenomenon and explore why this rise in self-represented litigants is viewed negatively. I then evaluate options for reform, before acknowledging that there will always be some disparity between parties to a civil dispute. Nonetheless, I reaffirm the importance of the right to self-representation in New Zealand despite recent calls for its removal or restriction. The self-representation phenomenon is indicative of a wider issue of access to civil justice, which must be addressed for meaningful change to occur.

Keywords: Self-representation, self-represented litigants, access to justice, civil justice, courts.

JEL Classification: K00, K10.

Suggested Citation

Grey, Louise, Not for the Faint of Heart: The Right to Self-Representation in New Zealand (June 25, 2017). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper, Student/Alumni Paper No. 25/2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2992417

Louise Grey (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
86
Abstract Views
449
rank
300,688
PlumX Metrics