My sibling was involved in a RTA in 2018 and acquired a brain injury from bruising of the brain resulting in some memory lapses and some mental health issues such as anxiety. A year into proceedings he decided to change lawyers as his case manager advised that the new lawyers were more pro active and could ultimately get him a better deal.
The new lawyers were keen to get his capacity tested and obtained an assessment that stated he should not manage his own finances or litigation. Before and since the accident he has had no problems in managing his finances, undertaking his own share trading and managing his budgets. The lawyers stated his case would be greatly enhanced if he agreed to a deputy managing his finances and a litigation friend to aid with the case. My sibling was initially reluctant but went on to accept the lawyers as deputy to his finances. The lawyers advised I could act as litigation friend and would simply mean I would help ensure my sibling with any hand holding in understanding the case and there was no other involvement. I agreed to this role but before the papers arrived I found out that LF could become liable for court costs as my sibling was the protected party.
I immediately called the lawyers to check my understanding and they didn’t deny this but said the risks of this was minimal. I refused to act but over the next 48 hours was bombarded by family and lawyers who said if I didn’t act within this time the three year limit would expire to file the case with the courts. I very reluctantly agreed to get the files submitted and a few months later asked in May 2022 to be removed.
The lawyers state only the OS can replace me, and in August 2023 the OS rejected the request stating whilst I am around they do not need to act. I do not know if it is normal to take 15 months to reply or if the lawyers dragged their heels.
The lawyers said I couldn’t be removed without a replacement but now say I might be able to be removed and this will force the OS to act in my place. I have a feeling that I am being strung along whilst the case proceeds and by the time they get a response the case will be heard at court.
I have just discovered the current costs estimate of the case is £375,000 and I feel sick that I could be liable. For full disclosure I have a mortgaged property, young children and run a business, this level of costs would bankrupt me and make my family homeless.
Please could anyone advise if I can personally remove myself as the LF and how I would go about this. There are no friends or family who could replace me.
Alternatively are there any advocacy groups that could act independently so the OS wouldn’t have to act as I do understand they are under pressure at the moment.
My sibling is in agreement with me and feels very guilty about putting me in this position and is happy to contact the courts if he knows where to write to and who to contact.