You can be appointed as litigation friend to make decisions about a court case for either:

  • an adult who lacks the mental capacity to manage their own court case either with or without a solicitor
  • a child

The court case can be any of the following:

  • a civil case, except a tribunal
  • a family case
  • a Court of Protection case

You’ll have to go to court if there’s a hearing, but you cannot act as the other person’s lawyer.

An adult with a litigation friend is called the ‘protected party’ in court.

How you’re appointed

You can either:

The court will check if you’re suitable. It can appoint you as soon as the case has started or at any time during the case.

When there’s no one suitable, willing and able to be a litigation friend, the court may ask the Official Solicitor to step in.

When your appointment ends

If you’re the litigation friend for a child who turns 18 or an adult who recovers capacity during the case, you may need to apply to stop being a litigation friend.

You may be replaced by the court if you do not carry out your duties properly.