Counsel’s Tables? Seating Counsel and Litigants-in-Person in the Courtroom
Where should litigants-in-person (LiPs) sit in the courtroom? Do they have a right to sit at “counsel’s tables” or do they need leave? Why have certain practices developed in this regard and why do they matter? These questions emerged from court observations during research on LiPs in the New Zealand civil courts (Bridgette Toy-Cronin “Keeping Up Appearances: Accessing New Zealand’s Civil Courts as a Litigant in Person” (PhD Thesis, University of Otago, 2015)). This article reports the findings about practice in the High Court and Family Court and examines them in a procedural, historical and social context. It concludes that current practice needs reform to create greater consistency and avoid messages of exclusion that may undermine the legitimacy of the court.
Publisher: Lexis Nexis
Keywords: Courts and Adjudication; Civil law; New Zealand
Research Type: Journal Article