A Litigation Friend per CPR r.21 is often relevant to inheritance litigation and I have acted for a few over the years in addition to occasionally personally acting in the role of litigation friend.
A person may act as litigation friend for either a protected party or child if he/she:
(a) can fairly and competently conduct proceedings on behalf of the child or protected party;
(b) has no interest adverse to that of the child or protected party;
(c) where the child or protected party is a claimant, undertakes to pay any costs which the child or protected party may be ordered to pay in relation to the proceedings, subject to any right he may have to be repaid from the assets of the child or protected party.
The recent judgment in Keays v Parkinson is interesting reading on the topic of suitability of litigation friend and appointment of a solicitor to act as litigation friend in substitution for the family member already acting in that role. Additionally it is noteworthy that the litigation friend’s costs are to be paid out of the estate in this case.
I recommend all practitioners in this niche field of litigation have a look as litigation friend case law guidance has been relatively few and far between.
Master Clark does make a number of criticisms of the executors in this case and [at para 57] with regards to them straying from the path of neutrality.
The further rounds in the underlying dispute have yet to be fought. The adult child (protected party with physical and mental disabilities) Claimant has on the face of things made some headway already through the original litigation friend (mother) in getting a 1975 Act claim off the ground and gained permission to bring the claim outside of the s.4 time limit.
2018 Keays v Parkinson, The Executors of the Late Right Honourable Cecil Parkinson.
Please click here to read the Keays v Parkinson BBC article.
If you are facing an inheritance dispute involving a claim by or against a child or a protected party and would like to instruct our contentious trust and probate specialist Michael Henry please do not hesitate to get in contact.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.