A litigant in person has recently incurred around £100,000 in legal interim costs after being reminded that he would receive no special treatment on the grounds of representing himself in court.
A ‘litigant in person’ is someone who has gone to court without official legal representation from a barrister or solicitor.
The litigant in person in this instance was the defendant in the case of Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation v Hardy, Mark Hardy. Mr Hardy had faced a claim from the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation after he made allegations including false accounting and fraud.
The court ruled that Mr Hardy’s requests for copies of documents under section 116 of the Companies Act and was not made for a proper purpose. At this point in the trial, the claimant sought to recover its legal costs, which were around £163,000.
Mr Hardy’s behaviour and conduct throughout the proceedings did not help his case. He insisted repeatedly that the remote trial should be streamed on YouTube, a request which was dropped before the trial without argument.
The judge continued that Mr Hardy’s behaviour was ‘well out of the norm’, citing the volume and nature of his correspondences. He had employed unprofessional and offensive tones, had attempted to submit large amounts of irrelevant material, and made unsupported accusations against the claimants.
After dragging proceedings on, the trial accrued larger and larger legal costs. When told he had to pay these, Mr Hardy was informed repeatedly that, just because he wasn’t being represented by a barrister or solicitor, he was not exempt from paying what he owed to the claimant and court. The judge reminded him that unrepresented people cannot expect special treatment.