Friends with Benefits

Back from my holidays and Perth Sheriff Court and just reading this article in The Herald about Consumer Focus Scotland‘s findings on how user-unfriendly the courts are.

The findings were that the “dearth of information” people received before and during their case “appears to heighten their levels of fear and anxiety”. And that therefore, party litigants should be allowed to bring “Mackenzie friends” with them to court.

I find it slightly strange that Parliament (which as the source of legislation must bear some of the responsibility for any complexities which arise in interpreting it, surely?) is being asked to solve the problem of non-lawyers finding court too complex by … um … sending more non-lawyers into court! Is it just me, or am I missing something?

If Court is too complex or imposing or whatever for non-lawyers to access effectively, then surely, obviously, the answer is either:

  1. reform the system completely, so that it is accessible to everyone (having all cases decided by user-friendly “Justice Tribunals” or somesuch); or
  2. make sure that everyone can have access to a lawyer (more Legal Aid, or more Law Centres, perhaps?).

Perhaps I am indeed missing something. Maybe my Mackenzie friend can explain it to me.

Posted on Absolvitor: Scots Law Online.

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