At the beginning of March 2011, I had no idea what a litigant in person was. By the end of March 2011, I was one.
Once my legal aid was stopped, I had a simple choice - appear as a witness for the Official Solicitor or represent myself (a litigant in person). I am either foolishly naive or arrogant because I decided on the second option. I had read all the submissions from the Official Solicitor and they were really going for it - breaches to Steven's Article 5 & 8 Human Rights and that all four DOLs had been unlawful. I read their legal argument and it looked very sound and watertight to me. So, the legal argument was covered.
However, the OS seemed less interested in exposing the level of manipulation and lies we had to deal with all year. I can see why - the legal argument was so strong in our favour, it might have been over - egging it to go for more. But I couldn't let it rest. So, I decided that would be my role for the week. Amanda was very encouraging and promised to help me out. But she also knew that I wouldn't go in for grandstanding - I would keep things very straightforward.
Chris helped me with the technical stuff and what I could and couldn't do as a litigant in person. I could make an opening statement to the judge, I could cross examine all the witnesses and I could deliver a closing address. I know that this is going to sound like I wanted to be Nemesis of Uxbridge, but I worked out two questions that I wanted to ask each of the Hillingdon witnesses - a couple of blows to the balls and then I'd sit down and let the professionals get on with it.
I'll write about the hearing in posts 97 & 98 but my balls nearly left me on the first morning as we filed into court and I was asked to sit, on my own, at a bench in the row in front of the OS and the Hillingdon barrister. Then the enormity hit me.