By Ella Playfair
The Litigant in Person Network (the Network) is an new online platform which aims to connect a wide range of people with a common goal of improving access to justice. Coordinated by the Litigant in Person Support Strategy, and supported by The Legal Education Foundation, the Network is a place for interested professionals to share, discuss and collaborate across sectors, on issues relating to both actual and potential Litigants in Person (LiPs).
Innovation and progress in access to justice is happening everywhere. Until now, there has been no central, online platform where a wide range of people can share information across sectors. There is consequently a risk that developments and resources are being missed, leading to duplication or gaps.
In response, we have developed an online network aiming to connect those with a common goal of improving access to justice for those without means. Membership is free and is open to the advice sector, legal professionals, academics, members of the judiciary, Court and Tribunal staff. The Network is for professionals, rather than litigants in person themselves, and we encourage people to continue to direct LiPs to the existing resources.
The site aims to create a sustainable online community in order to stimulate cross-sector dialogue, minimise duplication and encourage knowledge exchange. We hope that through networking, collaboration and shared and creative thinking, the ‘Community’ will be stronger and more effective in meeting the needs of LiPs and potential LiPs. We plan to achieve this by:
- Facilitating communication, discussion and sharing of good practice across sectors
- Signposting to resources and projects, to improve awareness of existing tools and to encourage collaboration
- Providing opportunities for engaging with research, policy and public sector change
The new website provides a central platform from which to disseminate information on projects, resources, research and other content relating to access to legal advice and the legal system. This includes public legal education, legal aid provisions, pro bono, legal advice and clinics, courts and tribunals, academic research and much more.
The Network doesn’t represent a single voice and the majority of material is written by Network members. However, if members are short on time we offer a phone-to-blog service involving a short phone call which allows us to produce a blog on their behalf. Alongside this, there exists a private ‘noticeboard’ area, where members can post questions, make comments and respond directly to other members. A summary of new Network content and noticeboard posts are circulated to members via a fortnightly newsletter.
Below are some of the ways you can be involved.
- Join the Network – You can sign up as an individual member and/or contact us to have your organisation added to our Network
- Contribute content – Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or use our Feedback form if you are a professional working in the field and would to contribute to the Network. We are looking for content about projects, resources, research, relevant developments and events related to access to justice for those without means. This could be anything from a short blog post on a successful (or unsuccessful) project, to a link to a website, tool or research paper.
- Share – Please feel free to share this or any other information about the Network. If you are using twitter, please use the hashtag #LIPNetwork.
- Feedback – This is a pilot! We are still learning and would love to hear your thoughts.
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