The civil court process can be daunting: the language, complex forms and buildings themselves are alien to most people. Lay representatives can make the process of pursuing or defending civil rights accessible through providing advice, support and practical help.
However, with no single organisation or body responsible for oversight of lay representatives, very little is known about the operation of the sector as a whole. It is not known how many lay representatives currently operate within Scotland’s civil courts, how many individuals are assisted by the services they offer, or indeed the types of cases where lay representation is most prevalent.
This research undertaken in partnership between Citizens Advice Scotland and Shelter Scotland aims to address that gap in knowledge. Who are lay representatives? What was their experience of becoming a lay representative? And, what is their experience of being a lay representative?
It is hoped that the ‘on the ground’ perspective offered here will help to inform the development of rules which acknowledge and support this increasingly relied upon form of assistance.