The role of ‘litigation friend’ in the Court of Protection can be undertaken by the Official Solicitor. However, this can lead to unnecessary expense and it is is not necessary or desirable in all cases. There may be other people more suited to step in such as family members or attorneys and we are here to help with appointing a litigation friend.
When is a litigation friend required?
A litigation friend is needed when someone is deemed by law to be unable to deal with court proceedings themselves. This generally applies to two categories of person: children under the age of 18 and those who do not have mental capacity.
Appointing a litigation friend
There are two ways of appointing a litigation friend:
1. by a court order; or
2. by someone agreeing to take on the role of litigation friend.
Who should become a litigation friend?
It is usually appropriate for a litigation friend to be someone who already has a close relationship with the person who lacks capacity to deal with matters themselves.
It is essential that the interests of the litigation friend do not conflict with those of the person they represent.
The litigation friend’s suitability to act in this role will have to be considered by the court in the event that legal proceedings are issued.
It is also important to bear in mind that when a legal matter has been resolved the court will often be required to approve the terms of any settlement at an ‘approval hearing’.
How we can help
If you are know someone who requires a litigation friend and you require legal guidance then please call our FREE helpline on 0808 139 1606.