Gloriavale says it can no longer afford its legal fees and will represent itself for the rest of the Employment Court case it is defending.
The court is hearing a case about whether six women who worked at the West Coast commune were employees or volunteers.
When the case resumes in February, Samuel Valor, one of the defendants in the case, as well as the four other shepherds - Howard Temple, Stephen Standfast, Noah Hopeful and Faithful Pilgrim - would conduct their own counsel.
Peter Righteous would assist.
Valor said they were happy with their representation by Philip Skelton KC and Scott Wilson, but "they simply could not sustain the cost of a legal team".
"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," Valor said.
“We have reluctantly decided that we will not be represented by legal counsel for the remainder of this proceeding.”