Represent Yourself in Court

You have the right to speak for yourself in court without a solicitor or other legal professional. 

You may choose to do this because: 

  • you think it is better to talk directly to the judge, jury or magistrates yourself  

  • you cannot afford to pay legal fees 

If you are considering representing yourself because you cannot afford legal costs, check if you can get legal aid instead. 

You will be known as a ‘litigant in person’ if you represent yourself. You will also be known as an ‘applicant’, ‘respondent’ or ‘defendant’ depending on whether your case is heard in a family, civil or criminal court. 

Read Advicenow’s guides to going to court for advice on how to conduct your case.  

Someone with you in court 

You may be allowed to have someone to help you in court by taking notes and giving advice, but they cannot:

  • speak for you 

  • interfere with proceedings 

  • sign documents on your behalf 

This person is known as a ‘McKenzie friend’. 

The judge will decide whether you can have a McKenzie friend with you in court. 

Get legal advice 

You can still get legal advice to help you with your case, even if you choose to represent yourself in court. 

Read advice on what you should consider before going to court for a debt, dispute or personal injury claim. 

See also: 

For further information on representing yourself in court, see GOV.UK's website.