The majority of family cases are initially listed before a Bench of Magistrates and since changes to legal aid rules in April 2013, the lay public have found themselves having to act as Litigants in Person. It is important to bring awareness to the fact that Magistrates are not legally trained and are led by a legal adviser who sits in Court.
As such, unless proper legal advice is obtained, it is unfortunate the number of times the Author has seen how Litigants in Person find their case going terribly wrong because they have not understood the process and their emotions have taken the better of them. Naturally, emotions will be heightened especially when spending time with children is concerned however, it is important to understand how the Court will deal with the case.
It is therefore advised to seek expert legal advice to ensure you fully understand the process and for a fair outcome.