1. Overview

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’s better to talk directly to the judge, jury or magistrates yourself
  • you can’t afford to pay legal fees

If you’re considering representing yourself because you can’t afford legal costs, check if you can get legal aid instead.

You’ll be known as a ‘litigant in person’ if you represent yourself. You’ll 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.

There are different courts and rules in Scotland.

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 can’t:

  • 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.

Read guidance on what a McKenzie friend can and can’t do.

Get legal advice

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

Find a solicitor.

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