Litigation Friend



The service receives referrals for our Advocates to act as Litigation Friend, from a number of Local Authorities and Health Boards when they themselves have brought cases before the COP.


As the number of cases dealt with by MHM Wales has increased, the proportion of these cases being brought before the Court of Protection (COP) has also increased.

 

MHM Wales is mindful of the ever changing legislation has taken steps to ensure that our Advocates have had adequate training and support around this new role and the challenges that it brings.

What is a Litigation Friend?


A Litigation Friend is a person who can fairly and competently conduct proceedings on behalf of a protected party (a person who by reason of mental disorder is incapable of managing and administering his own affairs). The litigation friend may be appointed by court order. (https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com)

 

This is a role that all of our PRPRs have taken on over the last year. The PRPR service has made a number of 21A applications to the Court of Protection (COP) and this has culminated in our Advocates being appointed as Litigation Friend. This is a role that the Local Authorities or Health Boards have agreed to fund.

 

Once appointed by the court the Advocate will keep in regular contact with the Relevant Person and ensure that their views are put before the court .They will attend hearings and liaise with Solicitors and

Barristers. They will have to consider any evidence that may be put before the Court and provide reports when needed.

Information

Sheet


Litigation Friend

Referral

For more information, please contact our advocacy department on


                           01656 649557


                           imca@mhmwales.org

THE ROLE


On completion of the referral form the appointed Litigation Friend would meet with the client in order to ascertain (where possible) their wishes and feelings in relation to the issues. Following this meeting/meetings, all COP Forms associated with the Litigation Friend role would be completed. The Litigation Friend would then take all steps to liaise with the client and all appointed legal representatives in order to give the client a voice, and to facilitate their full participation in proceedings. The extent of the Litigation Friend role would depend on the level of support required and the particular circumstances of the client but would include attending court with, or, on behalf of the client where required.

 

Where the client is represented by solicitors or counsel, we would not ordinarily seek to make any changes in this respect but would continue to instruct current representation in relation to the matter.

 

FUNDING

 

This is not a ‘free of charge’ service. MHM Wales are able to provide this service at an hourly rate of £75.00*. Issues of funding have been problematic in this area, and there are several options:


  • Private Funding;
  • Supervisory Body – Costs for the Litigation Friend Service to be met by the Supervisory Body by prior agreement;
  • Health Board – Costs for the Litigation Friend Service to be met by the Health Board by prior agreement;
  • Combined/Split Funding provided by SB/HB as agreed (see above)
  • Public Funding – Costs to be met via a prior authority application upon the public funding certificate;
  • Order of the Court – an order may be sought from the Court at the first available Directions Hearing in relation to the funding for this service, where there is an available Litigation Friend but no available funding.

 

*Please note that travel and disbursement costs are billable separately at our normal rate.

 

COSTS INDEMNITY


Should appropriate funding be secured by the client/client’s solicitor we would also seek to be indemnified in relation to any costs implications arising from any proceedings issued.



Mental Health Matters Wales








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