What does a litigation friend do in an injury claim?Updated: September 30, 2020
If a child (under 18 years old) or vulnerable adult wishes to make an injury claim, they will need a 'litigation friend' to represent them. A litigation friend is most commonly a parent or guardian if the claimant is a child, but can be a relative, friend, or a professional, such a social worker.
The role of a litigation friend?
The main role of a litigation friend is to act on a claimant's behalf. It is the litigation friend who will liaise with the claimant’s solicitor during the claim process and make decisions in the best interests of the claimant, including:
- Liaising with legal representatives and making decisions in relation to the claim
- Signing and approving documentation
- Attending meetings with the claimant’s solicitors and barristers
- Making sure that the claimant attends any medical appointments necessary to support the claim
- Talking to the claimant and explaining the process to them throughout
If the case goes to court, a litigation friend will be required to sign a ‘Certificate of suitability to be a litigation friend’. This form will be filed with the court.
A litigation friend will work in the claimant’s best interests. If a settlement is offered, it is the litigation friend’s responsibility to decide whether to accept it.
If a settlement is offered and accepted by the litigation friend, the settlement will still need to be approved by a court. The litigation friend will be required to attend a hearing and may be required to bring certain documents (e.g. a birth certificate).
What if I don't have a relative or friend willing to act as a litigation friend?
If there is nobody suitable to act as a litigation friend for a claimant, then you can apply to the ‘Official Solicitor to Senior Courts’ to help with representation.
When do a litigation friend's responsibilities end?
A litigation friend will be responsible for the claimant until the end of the court case, or until a child turns 18. A litigation friend has no legal authority over the claimant outside the parameters of the compensation claim.
A litigation friend can be replaced if they are unable or unwilling to continue in their role, but the court will need to approve the substitute person.
Acting as a litigation friend is an essential role in ensuring that vulnerable or young people can access the justice system and make important decisions that serve their best interests throughout their claim.
If you have been injured at work in the last 3 years, you may be able to claim financial compensation.
Find out more about making a work accident claim:
- Do you qualify?
- How much compensation could you get?
- How does No Win, No Fee work?