The Snakes and Ladders of Legal Participation: Litigants in Person and the Right to a Fair Trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights

22 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2022

See all articles by Grainne McKeever

Grainne McKeever

Ulster University at Jordanstown

Lucy Royal-Dawson

Ulster University

Eleanor Kirk

Glasgow Caledonian University

John McCord

Ulster University - School of Law

Date Written: June 8, 2022

Abstract

This article reviews the right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights for litigants in person (LIPs). LIPs operate in a system that was not designed for them and so challenge the norm of fully represented parties that the system has evolved to expect, creating potential risks for their Article 6 rights. The jurisprudence on Article 6 reveals the centrality of effective participation as a requirement for fulfilling the right to a fair trial. The article views the jurisprudential interpretation against original and significant empirical research data on how LIPs participate in civil and family court processes. It applies a conceptual analysis of legal participation to consider what might constitute effective participation in court proceedings and, through the empirical evidence, categorizes the intellectual, practical, emotional, and attitudinal barriers that LIPs face in their legal proceedings, which can constitute risks to their rights under Article 6.

Keywords: Litigants in Person; Article 6 ECHR; Fair trial; participation; civil and family law

Suggested Citation

McKeever, GrĂ¡inne and Royal-Dawson, Lucy and Kirk, Eleanor and McCord, John, The Snakes and Ladders of Legal Participation: Litigants in Person and the Right to a Fair Trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (June 8, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4131304 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4131304

GrĂ¡inne McKeever (Contact Author)

Ulster University at Jordanstown ( email )

Newtownabbey
County Antrim BT37 OQB, Northern Ireland
United Kingdom
+44 (0)28 9036 6340 (Phone)

Lucy Royal-Dawson

Ulster University ( email )

Northland Road
Londonderry, BT48 7JL
Northern Ireland

Eleanor Kirk

Glasgow Caledonian University ( email )

City Campus
Cowcaddens Road
Glasgow G4 0BA, Scotland
United Kingdom

John McCord

Ulster University - School of Law ( email )

Newtownabbey
United Kingdom

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