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Rights of Audience

  • Normally only 'authorised persons' e.g. solicitors and barristors, are permitted to represent a client or person in court.
  • See: Legal Services Act 2007  governing: 'reserved activities'.
  • Such authorised persons must be "properly dressed" with wigs and gowns as appropriate to their status absent which I have heard a judge chastise an unrobed solicitor attending at short notice.  He made an exception and agreed to hear him speak.
  • A Litigant in person, is permitted to present their own case before a judge but the litigant may not be permitted to delegate this right to an agent if he is legally unqualified to act.
  • Not all judges adhere strictly to the rules and have discretion to allow exceptions.
  • An estate agent or letting agent may not be permitted to act other than as a Mckenzie Friend.
  • An agent may, however, with leave of the court (permission or at the invitation of the judge) be permitted to speak as a witness or to confirm rent arrears, breaches of tenancy agreement, etc.
  • Letting Agents cannot demand to be permitted to present a case, -this is for the discretion of the presiding judge to decide.
  • All this said, provided the litigant in person is physically present at court accompanied by the agent, then for expediency a judge is likely to allow the agent to present the case on behalf of the litigant landlord client - the judge need not permit it nor can the agent demand to be heard.
  • A judge could declare, "I cannot hear you" despite having perfectly good audible hearing.
  • See also: Next FriendLitigant in personMckenzie FriendIn Loco Parentis.
Published: 29 September 2015 Last Updated: 30 November 2021