Judicial Perspectives of Self-Representation in the High Court of Hong Kong

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Adversarial Litigation, Self-Represented Litigants, Hong Kong High Court, Legal Challenges


Adversarial litigation is designed on the assumption that people will be represented by competent lawyers. Litigants who represent themselves challenge this design and the assumption on which it is based. Common law systems, including Hong Kong, are developing strategies to address the challenges presented by significant numbers of self-represented litigants. The impact of self-representation in Hong Kong High Court civil proceedings is made more complex by the fact that, whilst proceedings in that court have traditionally been conducted in English, most litigants in person appearing in the High Court are monolingual Chinese speakers. This article reports and discusses the results of interviews with Hong Kong judges about their experiences of self-representation and their recommendations for change. It also discusses the extent to which self-representation in High Court civil proceedings has highlighted challenges for Hong Kong as it incorporates bilingualism in the higher courts.