Family and Divorce Law Jargon Buster: Part 19 – Litigation Friend

February 2, 2015, By Slater Heelis

This is the next instalment in our bite size blog series in which we hope to demystify some of the legal terms which are frequently used by family solicitors when giving legal advice and in the family courts environment.

Litigation Friend: In the face of legal proceedings, a person can either apply to become a litigation friend or the Court can appoint somebody to become one. Someone who is likely to need a litigation friend is an adult who lacks full mental capacity or a child. A litigation friend can be a parent or guardian, a family member or friend, a solicitor, a professional advocate, a Court of Protection Deputy or someone who has a Power of Attorney. If there is no-one suitable, then the Court may appoint the Official Solicitor to act as a Litigation Friend. The main duty of a Litigation Friend is to make decisions in the other person’s best interests and explain to them what is going on in the case as far as is possible, establishing what their wishes and feelings are. They may also be required to get advice from a legal representative on their behalf and pay any costs ordered by the Court.

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