LRC Reports

Costs of Successful Unassisted Lay Litigants (1975)

Keywords: costs; taxation; disbursement; nonlawyer; tariff; civil rights;
successful; unassisted; lay; litigant

In our system of civil litigation, the loser of a court case is generally liable to pay the costs incurred in conducting that case by the winner. This general rule is subject to several exceptions, one of which applies to cases where the winner was not represented in court by a lawyer. In such cases, the person who successfully conducted the case on his or her own behalf is only entitled to costs for out-of-pocket expenses, but not for any time spent in preparation. This project considers whether this position is in need of reform and, if so, how it should be reformed.

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