In the Family Division case of Re B (Litigants in Person: Timely Service of Documents)  EWHC 2365 (Fam), Peter Jackson J (with the approval of Sir James Munby, as President of the Family Division) has held that, where one party is represented and the other is a litigant in person (‘LIP’) the court should normally direct as a matter of course that the Practice Direction documents under PD27A are to be served on the LIP at least three days before the final hearing, especially where the LIP is not fluent in English. The method of service, usually email, should be specified. Where time permits, the court should consider directing that the key documents are served with a translation. In cases where late service on a LIP may cause genuine unfairness, the court should consider whether an adjournment of the hearing should be allowed until the position has been corrected.
We suggest that a similar practice both should and is likely to be adopted in the Court of Protection in relation to the key documents identified in Practice Direction 13B so as to avoid the intrinsic unfairness to LIPs that may arise from late service. As Peter Jackson J noted, this will place further obligations on advocates and those who instruct them.