Conspiracy!: Or, When Bad Things Happen To Good Litigants in Person

Dr. Kate Leader, “Conspiracy!: Or when bad things happen to good Litigants in Person“:

“This paper considers the relationship between Litigants in Person (LiPs) and conspiracy theories and seeks to answer two questions: how, and why, do some LiPs come to be conspiracy theorists? The majority of LiPs, of course, don’t become conspiracy-minded. There is also no evidence that LiPs are more likely than anyone else in legal proceedings to be conspiracists, only, perhaps, that it is more obvious when they are. But there continues to be individuals who have conspiracist explanations for difficulties or failures they experience throughout legal proceedings. And while it is widely held that some LiPs hold eccentric beliefs about the law, there has been little attempt to understand how and why LiPs may come to acquire or articulate these beliefs. This is presumably because it has not been considered important to interrogate the views of people already often assumed to be “difficult” or eccentric. This article contends, however, that trying to understand how and why these conspiracist beliefs are acquired matters very much. This is because conspiracy theories can give us a critical insight into how negative experiences of litigation can result in a loss of faith or trust in legal institutions.”