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The Family Court without a Lawyer: A Handbook for Litigants in Person [Kindle Edition]

Lucy Reed
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Family Court without a Lawyer is the book you need if you are involved in disputes with your ex over money or children and do not have a lawyer to represent you in court.

This 2nd edition is fully up to date with the new procedures introduced to the Family Court in April 2014. Armed with this book you will be able to present your own case effectively and confidently before the judge, many of whom will be familiar with the book, increasing your chances of achieving a good outcome.

Lucy Reed, a specialist family law barrister and legal writer, has distilled the knowledge and expertise gained from representing clients in court to write the essential guide to the family courts for the non-lawyer. In clear language she provides a thorough guide to the law that you will need to know, plus countless tips and insights on how you should best prepare and present your case such as: what to expect and where to go when you turn up at the court; what to think about when deciding to call a witness; how to challenge a judge's decision through an appeal, clear explanations of legal terms, jargon and concepts

You will also have full access to, where you will find useful supporting documents and resources,such as model agreements, forms and updates. All this practical advice and support makes Family Courts without a Lawyer much more than just a DIY divorce book.

Recently commended by a group of senior family judges and lawyers, it is a practical tool to help you in court and a reference to help you understand what happens in family proceedings, whether or not you have a lawyer.

Product Description


'Excellent book. Get it before you even think of going to Court.' / 'Cheaper than a solicitors letter. I was able to gain enough confidence to act as LIP after reading this book. I also fended off a top flight barrister and solicitor! saved me ££££ thousands so far. Great Book' / 'clear and to the point. It helped me save tens of thousands of pounds in 3 years.' / 'I would recommend this book if you are going through family court without a solicitor, it will help you to prepare and understand the procedures of the family court. It covers just about everything you need to know from completing forms/procedures and explains the meanings of the legal jargon used.' / 'This book is written in easy to understand language and so gives lots of practical, easy to follow advice. Great' / 'I would recommend this book if you are going through family court without a solicitor, it will help you to prepare and understand the procedures of the family court. It covers just about everything you need to know from completing forms/procedures and explains the meanings of the legal jargon used.' --Amazon reader reviews of the 1st edition published in 2011

With the government about to announce its final cost-cutting plans for legal aid there is clearly a market for self-help books aimed at people who need access to justice, but can't afford professional help. Into the fray comes Lucy Reed, barrister and author of the Pink Tape blog, waving her new handbook for DIY litigants: Family Courts without a Lawyer. Litigants in person clog up the courts, she says. Slow courts mean delay for children and parents and injustice for families. Helping litigants in person to get it right procedurally is doing everyone a favour. Reed's book is a response to the proposals to withdraw legal aid for many family cases and while she doesn't dismiss the problems this will cause, she believes that litigants who represent themselves need not be at a significant disadvantage if they have the right information. The handbook is not aimed at any particular section of the population: The cab rank rule (the rule which says barristers must not turn away clients who want to instruct them) means that as a barrister I represent mums, dads, partners and kids in pretty much equal measure, she says. Some are wholly reasonable and well intentioned, some are malicious, and some are just idiotic. I don't see any of those characteristics as exclusive to men or to women. This is not a legal textbook (though lawyers may find it useful) nor is it a substitute for legal advice: I've had to strike a balance between being clear and precise about what the law says and providing too much detail which can be confusing and can make matters worse, says Reed. The book covers the things that litigants in person are most likely to come up against but it doesn't (and can't) cover all possible eventualities. An accompanying website, contains links to useful online resources and downloadable versions of the model documents included in the book. Reed manages to cover a good deal of ground in this fairly slim volume, which takes the court user from the starting block finding your way around the legal system - to the finishing line, whether that is divorce, financial arrangements for separating cohabitees, contact with children, or getting a non-molestation order in cases of domestic violence. The aim of the handbook is to make people who represent themselves feel more confident in court. I often encounter litigants in person with a perfectly good case which they struggle to prepare or present, or who become distracted by points which are legally irrelevant, says Reed. Litigants in person who do not have even a basic grasp of the law may not be able to articulate the strengths in their case and may do damage to it by adopting the wrong approach. In the much-needed Reality Check chapter Reed disposes of popular myths (there is no such thing as common law man and wife) and manages expectations telling readers: There is a lot in the media about the wives of very rich men walking away with vast fortunes on divorce. If you are reading this book you are probably not in their social circle and your own divorce will have a very different outcome. She adds: For most families the court has to make a rough and ready estimation of what is in the pot and try to do its best to be fair to both parties, putting the needs of the kids first. The straightforward style of this book, its tone of encouragement, and its plain English approach to family law including a jargon buster section are among its strengths. Reed does not talk down to her readers she is with them every step of the way. --The Guardian --The Guardian - review of the 1st edition

We also commend the book written by one of our group, namely Lucy Reed, entitled 'The Family Court without a Lawyer: A handbook for Litigants in Person' (Bath Publishing: 2nd edition; June 2014); there is a dedicated chapter on financial remedy cases, and useful section entitled 'Toolkits and Resources'. Some of the material is on the web; the three videos prepared under the heading of 'Going to Court' which accompany the text are excellent. --1st Report of the Financial Remedies Working Group (August 2014)

About the Author

The author is Lucy Reed, an experienced family law barrister and mediator with St Johns Chambers in Bristol. She been writing Pink Tape, her award-winning, family law blog for many years (see The blog aims to be accessible to the common reader and its success, together with the feedback she receives while writing it, have inspired her to write this book.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 903 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Bath Publishing Limited; 2nd edition (9 Jun. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #131,856 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Going it alone... 7 Sept. 2014
By Phillip Taylor TOP 1000 REVIEWER

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

If you are a lawyer reading this, you might wonder why you should read a book entitled ‘The Family Court without a Lawyer’. The short answer is (if you’re a family lawyer) that it will help you inform, advise and reassure your clients in a practical manner and with a positive and plain-speaking approach.

Actually, the approach isn’t merely plain-speaking. It is frank and direct; knowledgeable, yet conversational. There are no punches pulled here.

The author Lucy Reed is a barrister and family law specialist with over ten years’ experience. ‘This is the book you need,’ she explains, ‘if you have to go to court to sort out issues over separation, money or children and do not have a lawyer to represent you.’

Notice that the book has gone into a second edition which attests to its usefulness and popularity. As it has been fully updated to explain the new law and procedures in force from April 2014, its publication by Bath Publishing is timely, especially in view of the almost complete disappearance of legal aid funding for family matters -- hence the proliferation in the courts of litigants in person. ‘Access to justice is increasingly difficult for many,’ as Reed points out.

Obviously the book is aimed at litigants in person, although those who have instructed lawyers will also benefit in that they will be able to gain a better understanding of the management of their particular case and what to expect in court.

The book is divided into seven parts, starting with indispensable advice on ‘getting the most out of this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Being a litigant-in-person requires a significant amount of research. As someone who had no prior knowledge of the legal system, an understanding of the basic aspects of running a legal case is crucial. It’s very easy to get lost in legal details without understanding the bigger picture and a number of books I read fell into this category.

What this book provides is both the foundation aspects of being a litigant-in-person, so crucial in representing yourself successfully, as well as the depth required in specific points of family law. It covers the legal procedure in handling your case, a key requirement so you don’t get lost in the process, as well as how best to represent your case following points of law. It’s written in a concise to the point manner which aids a litigant-in-person when navigating a complex topic.

Representing oneself is no trivial task. I successfully represented myself on two separate occasions. This book gave me the knowledge to run my case from a procedural perspective, as well as argue my points and represent my legal position succinctly in front of a judge.

I highly highly recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book; great price 8 Jan. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
No book can replace experience or a lawyer, but, for the price that you pay, this book is brilliant.

Even if you instruct a lawyer, it really is worth getting this book to give you further insight into how the family court works.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An indispensable resource 7 Jan. 2015
An indispensable resource for anyone facing the possibility of attending Court either with or without a lawyer.
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