On 24th February, The Judiciary have published comprehensive new 2021 edition of their Equal Treatment Bench Book.
The Equal Treatment Bench Book (ETBB) is a guide to certain procedures for judges. It aims to increase awareness and understanding of the different circumstances of people appearing in courts and tribunals. It helps enable effective communication and suggests steps which should increase participation by all parties. In its 561 pages, The Equal Treatment Bench Book contains information on dealing with a whole range of groups, including in seeking to promote a better understanding of litigants in person, litigants with disabilities, etc.
There are practical tips on communicating with those speaking English as a second language or through interpreters, communicating with people with mental disabilities, a guide to different naming systems, and latest views on acceptable terminology. It also addresses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on different groups and how to conduct remote hearings (on audio or video platforms) fairly.
The ETBB is there as guidance for judges rather than litigants - it is certainly not a light read, even if being used as a reference book. Neverthless, if you are experiencing some difficulties as a litigant in person it might be of some assistance to politely and respectfully point out what it states.
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