Sunday, 22 February 2009

Family Court: non-lawyer appearing for party

In the Full Court of the Family Court case of Batey-Elton and Elton (No.2), Ms Batey-Elton sought that a Mr B appear for her on the appeal. Mr B was not a lawyer.

The Full Court dismissed the request. Justice Warnick (who gave the lead judgment) stated that the reasons were:
  1. advocates or speakers on behalf of litigants should be legal practitioners who are subject to all of the strictures and obligations that apply to them. Mr B does not fit into that category.
  2. in an extraordinary case a non-lawyer might be permitted to speak on behalf of a litigant but this was not an extraordinary case.
  3. Ms Batey-Elton is able, in effect, to present and support her application. What she anticipates not being able to deal with, are responses. We do not yet know whether any response will be called for or whether it will contain any matter of some nature which troubles Ms Batey-Elton.
  4. Mr B is a deponent in the very application in which Ms Batey-Elton seeks that he speak, effectively in the role as advocate, and I have in mind the nature of the matters about which he deposes.
  5. there is no medical certificate supporting what Ms Batey-Elton claims.

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