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Issued: 12 February 2014[PDF, 129kb]
There's an old saying that a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client, but that may no longer be the case with new online resources available to help self- represented litigants with their preparations. Attorney General Greg Smith SC today launched a series of 'how to' videos for self-represented litigants that are available on the LawAssist website. "While there's no substitute for professional legal advice, it is a reality that many people appear in court without representation; and if they don't know what they are doing it can cause, confusion, frustration and costly delays for all parties," he said. "The 14 video tutorials on the LawAssist website are designed to help people with little or no legal training familiarise themselves with court processes from the comfort of their own home." "The videos show the layout of a courtroom, explain who is who and give tips on how to seek an adjournment, enter a plea, give evidence and cross examine witnesses." The online clips also include an overview of how to seek or respond to an Apprehended Violence Order and how to get ready for a small claims debt hearing. "The LawAssist videos focus on the court user, their expectations and their experiences and will help self represented litigants prepare for court and gain confidence to deal with their legal problem," Mr Smith said. The videos are supplemented with written plain language legal information and step-by-step guides on the LawAssist website, provided by LawAccess NSW. The videos encourage people to get legal advice before heading to court by contacting LawAccess NSW, a free government telephone service. It provides legal information, referrals, and in some cases advice, for people who have a legal problem in NSW. For legal help over the phone call 1300 888 529 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm). "Until recently, many self-represented litigants have relied on US TV dramas to learn about court. I can guarantee that the new LawAssist videos are more educational and relevant to self-represented litigants than an episode of Law & Order," Mr Smith said. To view the material, go to www.lawaccess.nsw.gov.au/lawassist