In many places there are forms
of legal assistance for those who truly cannot afford proper legal representation
(or who can manipulate the system to appear so - for example many dodgy bankrupt
businessmen). In the case of domain name gamblers, arguing penury may be a little
Also, it is often possible to represent oneself
- as one is appearing as defendent and thus not the party bringing the action. But
this depends, of course, on where the action is being conducted.
You will probably have noticed that most US companies like Verisign/Netsol
have very explicit details on this, as carefully forcing jurisdictional outcomes
as part of any contractual arrangements is one of the best ways to assist one's action.
As always, the legal system in general will appear to work for the
benefit of those with the largest pockets. So, one must be quite certain of one's
legal basis before commencing one's defence. Large companies have always relied on
the fact that individuals are "better off" to make a moderate loss in non-contesting
versus a major loss after legal action.
In the case of speculative
property such as (some) domain names, you may find that litigation sponsors may be
interested - if you can convince them that the continued ownership of the name is
liable to produce significant financial rewards and/or decision in your favour will
win damages as well as costs against the plaintiff. They may then fund your case,
and take their (rather large) fees from either your damages or your windfall from
usage of the domain name.
Not all judges have objections to
people playing lawyer when the circumstances dictate such behavior. A good judge
will always operate on the basis of law. That said, in countries where judicial appointments
are political and/or financially-driven, the decision of the judge may actually be
motivated by somewhat less desirable motives than justice!
Finally, in cases where the defendant really is the "little guy" and is in the right
(and not just in it for a profit), various organizations with interests in IP, rights,
consumer protection, use of technology, etc, may be co-opted into some level of assistance.
The media, of course, can also be of assistance (particularly if publicity surrounding
the case could be damaging to the reputation of the plaintiff).
things in moderation"