When your client cannot give instructions, you may need a Case Guardian
(also called Litigation Guardian / Guardian ad Litem / Next Friend)
Litigation takes a toll on the physical and mental health of the best of our clients.
What can you do if your client does not have the physical or mental capacity to give instructions? Often this may be the type of case that has already been set down for trial once, and the trial judge has allowed an adjournment on the basis that the trial is going ahead next time, come what may.
In such cases, the appointment of a “Case Guardian” who can step into your client’s shoes to give instructions is a far better option than to risk an uncontested hearing or further expensive indeterminate adjournments.
The Family Law Rules refer to a “Case Guardian”. The same function is described in the Federal Circuit Court Rules and in the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules as a Litigation Guardian.
A Case Guardian can be a friend or relative. However, they must be willing and able to act, and they cannot have an interest that could be adverse to the person whose instructions are needed.
In the absence of an appropriate friend or relative, an independent lawyer is an appropriate Case Guardian.
What to do
We offer ourselves as Case Guardians.
Contact us about obtaining our appointment as a Case Guardian or Litigation Guardian. If so, we can help to advance your client’s matter and avert the unattractive options of an uncontested hearing or an unwanted adjournment.