Litigants in Person: Principles and Practice in Civil and Family Matters in Singapore
Jaclyn Neo and Helena Whalen-Bridge
This book is the first academic examination of litigants in person (“LiPs”) in the Singapore legal system. LiPs are a significant presence in Singapore’s legal system. Within our adversarial tradition of adjudication, high levels of self-representation can raise multiple distinctive access to justice issues for LiPs as well as other actors in the justice system. Focusing on civil and family law proceedings, this exploration of LiPs in the Singapore system is situated within a broader understanding of access to justice, premised upon the need to ensure practical and effective access to justice. The book employs different methodologies, including a doctrinal legal analysis, a literature review of academic writings, policy papers, and official reports, and an empirical consideration of written court judgments involving LiPs. The book also contains findings from in-depth interviews of a small group of LiPs, conducted with the Community Justice Centre’s assistance, as well as a survey of lawyers conducted with the Law Society of Singapore’s assistance. These mixed methodologies inform a tripartite framework to analyse the status, needs, and impact of self-representation in the current system. The tripartite framework focuses on the perspectives of three main constituents: the LiPs themselves, judges and court staff, and lawyers representing other parties in a proceeding.