Unfortunately, there is no one authoritative definition either in legislation or in the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) on what constitutes a litigant in person (LIP). Nevertheless, it is understood to mean a party to litigation who is acting on his own behalf, without a legal representative who is both acting on the record and authorised to conduct litigation (under the Legal Services Act 2007).
In a recent case, the position was clarified on whether or not an LLP law firm would be deemed as being a LIP.
Mr Halborg had been ordered to pay a law firm’s (EMW) costs following an unsuccessful court application. EMW represented themselves and instructed Counsel.
On making the assessment, Master Campbell held that EMW should not be treated as a LIP and, as such, costs should not be limited to £19.00 per hour. Mr Halborg appealed this decision.
HHJ Purle QC considered CPR 46.5(6):
For the purposes of this rule, a litigant in person includes –
(a) a company or other corporation which is acting without a legal representative; and
(b) any of the following who acts in person (except where any such person is represented by a firm in which that person is a partner) –
(i) a barrister;
(ii) a solicitor;
(iii) a solicitor’s employee;
(iv) a manager of a body recognised under section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 19851; or
(v) a person who, for the purposes of the 2007 Act, is an authorised person in relation to an activity which constitutes the conduct of litigation (within the meaning of that Act).
HHJ Purle QC dismissed the appeal and held that, EMW was a “company or other corporation” which was acting with a legal representative, and therefore was not a LIP as per point (a) noted above.
He rejected Mr Halborg’s submission that EMW was nevertheless a LIP. He believed that companies and corporations were dealt with comprehensively and that a “person” (in sub-paragraph (v) above) is to be limited to natural persons only.
It is worth noting…
This decision provides useful guidance on the correct approach when dealing with law firms and solicitors generally.
 EMW Law LLP v Halborg  EWHC 2005 (Ch)