Anyone ever represented themselves in a civil action?

Did this myself a few years back. Did you do it as a last resort because the lawyers were deficient in competence or care (as in couldn’t-care-less), or did you go it alone from the outset because of the prohibitive costs? Did you get a result?

Noticing that your location is not in the U.S. I was curious where you handled your own case. I’m curious is it’s an easier thing to do in other countries, because in my experience it would be a very difficult here.

Here in Hong Kong. It was a High Court action. It’s not difficult at all procedurally, but monumentally hard in other ways.

Many years ago a major insurance company here in the UK was refusing to cough up the money after my place had been burgled. They got their legal sharks involved, I handled it myself, and I was eventally paid 50% of the claim (as opposed to sweet nothing sideways).

I pursued it through what is known here as the Small Claims Court, and people always represent themselves in these cases, so it wasn’t a big decision or anything.

BTW, not part of the thread, but insurance companies are scum.

In about 1978 I represented myself in small claims court in Pennsylvania USA. I sued a former employer for not paying me a bonus he’d offered for getting a machine design to work. It’s news to me that people always represent themselves there - the other side did have an attorney.

The judge asked me to explain what I thought I was owed and why, and give any supporting documents, which I did. Then he asked the other guy’s lawyer what their response was, and he explained some reason that the judge didn’t buy. So then he explained some completely different and unrelated reason, starting over again from scratch as if he hadn’t just laid out the first story. I was just amazed at the implausible gall of this guy, and stared slack jawed back and forth at him and the judge, who took all this in without surprise and then announced that he didn’t accept this argument either. So the lawyer tried yet a third version. In hindsight I guess this is probably standard legal practice.

The next part was exquisite, at least for me. The judge dressed this attorney down, telling him “I’ve been giving you justice at this bench for years, and I don’t want to hear you coming in here with a story like that!” and on and on. His decision was in my favor, giving me everything I asked for.

I did it myself because I didn’t think I could afford a lawyer. So then the other guy appealed the decision, and at the appeals court I had to get a lawyer. As soon as I contacted a lawyer and he told them he had taken the case, they settled out of court. My lawyer got 10% of the proceeds but nothing additional out of my pocket.

There was no way my appeals court lawyer was incompetent. He got 10% of my money just for announcing he’d take the case. This is one of the most competent, lawyerly things I’ve heard of. It’s like a doctor getting paid for giving you an appointment.