IT TAKES A LIFETIME (AND THEN SOME) TO BECOME AN EXPERT IN THE LAW – PROBLEMS WITH SELF REPRESENTATION
Although this is about family law cases with the inaccessibility of legal aid and the persistent downturn of the economy, these points are equally applicable to criminal law cases. Litigants without counsel: 1. Have unrealistically high expectations of the outcomes they are likely to achieve. 2. Are more likely to go to trial than settle. 3. Experience problems at trial as a result of their unfamiliarity with the law and court processes. 4. Achieve worse results than litigants with counsel.
A lot of good research on litigants without counsel has been published in the last three or four years, most notably, in my view, Professor Julie Macfarlane‘s “Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Self-represented Litigants,” a trio
Source: The Vicious Spiral of Self-Representation in Family Law Cases – Slaw