What should I do if a litigant in person loses capacity?

I act in civil litigation proceedings where the defendant is a litigant in person. I’ve received correspondence from the defendant’s mother advising that the defendant has lost capacity. How do I proceed?

If, during proceedings, a party lacks capacity to continue to conduct proceedings, under rule 21.3(2) of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), no party may take any further step in the proceedings without the permission of the court until the protected party has a litigation friend.

An application for such an order may be made by someone who wishes to be the litigation friend, or a party (CPR 21.6(2)). See CPR 21.6 and 21.8 for the relevant procedure.

Where a protected party regains or acquires capacity to conduct the proceedings, the litigation friend’s appointment continues until it’s terminated by court order.

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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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