Christian community Gloriavale has revealed it will represent itself for the remainder of its Employment Court case examining the role of women working there.
The trial, which is expected to resume in February next year, has cost the community legal fees it says are not sustainable.
Community spokesperson Samuel Valor said in a statement he and four other shepherds will conduct their own counsel.
"The shepherds were happy with the representation they had in the first part of the trial with Philip Skelton KC and Scott Wilson, but they simply could not sustain the cost of a legal team."
In an affidavit to the court, the defendants - Howard Temple, Stephen Standfast, Noah Hopeful, Faithful Pilgrim and Valor - said the lengthy trial has made it difficult.
"The prolonged and ongoing nature of this litigation, which is now scheduled to take twice as long as originally contemplated, has simply made it impossible for us to continue to use the community's limited financial resources for legal representation."
They added it was a decision made "reluctantly".