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FAQ: Representing a company at court

28 June 2016

I am acting for a claimant in a debt collection matter which will be heard in the county court. The defendant is a company and I have been told by its director that as it cannot afford to instruct solicitors, he wants to represent the company at the court hearing. Can he do this?

There is provision under rule 39.6 of the Civil Procedure Rules which allows a company to be represented at a hearing by an employee provided the court gives permission for that person to appear. Paragraph 5.3 of Practice Direction 39A says that this rule is intended to enable a company to represent itself as a litigant in person and permission for an employee to appear should be given unless there is sufficient reason why it should be withheld. In considering whether to grant permission, matters to be taken into account include the complexity of the issues and the position in the company and experience of the proposed representative.

Permission should be obtained in advance of the hearing if possible and may be obtained informally and without reference to the claimant. The employee’s status must be included in the written request for permission together with confirmation of the board or other authorisation for him to act.

Disclaimer

This FAQ is compiled by the Law Society’s Practice Advice Service, telephone 020 7320 5675. Comments relating to it 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 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.