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FAQ: Off the record

22 December 2015

The Law Society’s Practice Advice Service offers guidance on what to do when a client you are acting for becomes uncontactable.

My firm was acting for a claimant in a litigation matter. We have been without instructions for three months. Despite extensive efforts to contact and locate the client, we have been unsuccessful. Should we make an application to come off the court record?  

If you are without instructions and can no longer progress the litigation, you should make an application to come off the court record. If the client cannot be contacted to sign a notice of acting in person, then an application pursuant to CPR 42.3 should to be made.

The application would be for a declaration that you have ceased to be the solicitor acting for the party and should be made under CPR 23. The application must be supported by evidence, usually a statement of truth, setting out the grounds for the application. Notice must usually be served on the client. If the client cannot be located you may be able to persuade the court to dispense with service.

Orders that a solicitor has ceased to act are usually made as a matter of course when it is shown that the solicitor is no longer acting. A sealed copy of the order must usually be served on your former client, so you should ask the court to dispense with this requirement. The order must also be served upon any other parties to the proceedings and it takes effect when it is served.

This column is compiled by the Law Society’s Practice Advice Service, telephone 020 7320 5675. Comments relating to the questions should be sent to Mrs Anjali Mouelhi, Solicitor Technical Lead, The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL.  

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this column, 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.  

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided by the Practice Advice Service, 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.