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Successful intervention on appointing a litigation friend for mentally vulnerable claimants

Last updated: 2 August 2017

The Law Society intervened successfully in the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) recently to support a mentally vulnerable claimant who wanted to appoint a litigation friend to assist with instructing her solicitor in her claim.

The case, Jhuti v Royal Mail Group, considered whether the EAT could appoint a litigation friend. While the EAT’s rules did not expressly give it the power to do so, the Law Society supported the claimant in arguing that the EAT’s rules should be read to allow it. We argued that this was necessary in accordance with the common law duty of fairness and the right of access to the courts, as well as to avoid placing their solicitor in conflict with their ethical duties if the client no longer has capacity to instruct them.

The president of the EAT, who heard the case, decided that the EAT does have the power to appoint a litigation friend for someone lacking mental capacity, and this will be possible in the future when the need arises.

Read the full decision of the EAT