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Litigating on behalf of another person?


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Hi all,

My (soon to be) brother in law, may have to soon start taking Barclays Bank (Charges etc) to court. My BIL works 9-5 (often later) as a Social worker. He does also not have the knowledge to pursue a case like this.

 

Is it possible that I could handle the case for him? I mean

a)Could I get him to sign a form of authority? Would this be acceptable to a court and Barclays?

 

b)Could I engage Barclays in the pre-court protocol?

 

c)What would I put on the court forms?

 

d)Could I attend/represent him at hearings

 

e)What would happen to the monies won?

 

Thanks and Merry Christmas

 

Harry

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Hi

As far as I am aware, you can handle matters for your BIL with his authorisation right up to court action but once in court, he has to attend as he will be the litigant. You can attend with him as a mackenzie friend but it would be down to the judge whether you would be allowed to speak. You would be able to offer guidance (quietly) to your BIL.

 

That is how I see it. Hopefully I am right but more than welcome to be put in my place :-)

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Unless you're a qualified lawyer it's a crime to represent that you have rights of audience in court. Would you try and perform open heart surgery on his behalf?

 

If the the amount is below 10k this would be small claims track. In which case he would be entitled to represent his friend as a lay representative, and he is not restricted to acting merely as a MacKenzie friend.

 

Please refer to the Practice Direction to CPR 27:

 

Representation at a hearing

 

3.1 In this paragraph:

(1) a lawyer means a barrister, a solicitor or a legal executive employed by a solicitor, and

(2) a lay representative means any other person.

3.2

(1) A party may present his own case at a hearing or a lawyer or lay representative may present it for him.

(2) The Lay Representatives (Right of Audience) Order 1999 provides that a lay representative may not exercise any right of audience:–

(a) where his client does not attend the hearing;

(b) at any stage after judgment; or

© on any appeal brought against any decision made by the district judge in the proceedings.

(3) However the court, exercising its general discretion to hear anybody, may hear a lay representative even in circumstances excluded by the Order.

(4) Any of its officers or employees may represent a corporate party.

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I never knew that Boxing Day was a school day. I will remember that for the future. :-)

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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a)Could I get him to sign a form of authority? Would this be acceptable to a court and Barclays?

 

 

b)Could I engage Barclays in the pre-court protocol?

 

c)What would I put on the court forms?

 

d)Could I attend/represent him at hearings

 

Regarding letters between Barclays, you can write those on his behalf. Barclays may want to see a signed written authority permitting you to liaise with them on his behalf.

 

Regarding court forms, you can prepare the forms but he would need to sign them.

 

Regarding the hearing, you should be able to act as a lay representative but only if this is small claims track (below 10k).

 

e)What would happen to the monies won?

 

Thanks and Merry Christmas

Monies should be paid directly to your friend.

 

Merry Xmas.

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At the end of the day the question boils down to "can I practise law without a practising certificate?" And the answer is "no". However as Silverfox correctly says some judges will let you get away with it.

 

To specifically address your questions:

 

a) obviously I don't know if you can get him to sign a form of authority, that's between you two, but if it's done that can allow you to deal with the bank yourself in general correspondence but most will not allow you to act as a quasi-solicitor in correspondence just because you have authority (see above)

 

b) you can send them pre action letters but they could very well ignore them as you're not entitled to issue proceedings on behalf of someone else anyway.

 

c) your BiL would need to sign the forms. You could write the detail of it. If your question is what you should actually say I'd question whether you should be trying to do this for your BiL if you don't already know how to complete the forms.

 

d) No. Although some judges will let you otherwise it's a crime.

 

e) What a strange question, I wonder why you ask. The money belongs to your BiL and, once again, it's a crime to charge for legal services unless you're qualified.

 

As an addendum to e) above, any adverse costs will be the responsibility if your BiL so if you mess this up he'll be left holding the baby.

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We have no idea if the amount is less than £10k or, even if it is, whether it will be allocated to the SCT. When it comes to encouraging someone to commit a crime I tend to err on the side of caution.

d) No. Although some judges will let you otherwise it's a crime.
The crime is pretending to be a solicitor if you are not. The UK does not have the criminal concept of practicing law without a license. This is a United States concept which does not exist in the same form in the UK.

 

Even if this is fast or multi track, the worst case scenario is that the judge does not allow the op to speak and is restricted to acting as a MacKenzie friend. There is nothing in the op's post which suggests he intends to pretend that he is a solicitor so there is no crime that would be committed.

 

The Op simply asked if he is allowed to represent his friend. As set out in my post, the CPR states he is entitled to present his friend's case at the hearing as a lay representative if it is SCT. We don't know the amount for certain but in reality the vast majority of these claims are less than 10k.

 

It is not correct to say that this will depend on whether the judge will let you. It is not discretionary. Please refer to the CPR extract I posted above.

 

Sorry, one final point; even if it is allocated to the SCT there may be hearings pre allocation so the issue of rights of audience is relevant in any event.
Yes, but in reality I would think this is unlikely and that if the amount is obviously less than 10k and therefore SCT any sensible judge would deal with it as such (refer to CPR PD 26, 2.4).

 

 

I never knew that Boxing Day was a school day. I will remember that for the future. :-)

:p need some time on CAG to take a break from family, mince pies and mulled wine!

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HAWC - I've moved some posts to here http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?413562-Rights-of-audience in order to avoid cluttering your thread with a debate about the Legal Services Act.

 

 

Hopefully the above has shown that the answer to your question depends on whether this is a small claim track claim (less than 10k) or not. Let us know if you have any questions.

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