0370 270 6000

Clarkson v Gilbert

6 July 2000
The issues

Rights of Litigant in Person to act through an unqualified person pursuant to Section 27(2)(c) Courts and Legal Services Act 1990

The facts

The Claimant was a litigant in person who brought Civil proceedings. Her husband had a law degree. He was doing Bar finals but had not been called. Application was made to Morland J. arguing that he should be granted rights of audience, firstly on the grounds of the Claimant’s ill health and secondly her lack of means. Attempts had been made to get the assistance of a Lawyer on a conditional fee which had not been forthcoming. He had also attempted to make use of the Bar Pro Bono Unit.

The decision

The Courts recognised that now legal aid was not available as readily as it had been there were going to be situations where litigants were forced to bring proceedings in person when they would need assistance. Litigants in person had to satisfy the Court as to why it was appropriate for them to be represented by an unqualified person. The sort of circumstances that would persuade the Court would be ill health and lack of means. Although there had been previous authority to the effect that the discretion which appeared at Section 27 (2)(c) should be exercised only in exceptional circumstances, that that Authority had been intended for the facts of that case and not for a situation where a husband wished to appear for his wife.

The Application had been made by the husband. This was not the appropriate way of going about such an Application. Normally it should be the Claimant who should do it. Moreover once rights of audience had been granted to the husband, the Claimant disappeared from the litigation. “That was not what should happen”. She should be present on occasions where matters directly affecting her interests were involved. However it was very important that whilst the Court should have mind the overriding objective of doing justice, the extension to rights of audience of those who are not properly qualified should not be done in “a disproportionate way”

Focus on...

Legal updates

Court of Appeal confirms exclusive English jurisdiction clause in excess liability policies in Canadian pipeline dispute

On 10 June 2022 the Court of Appeal upheld an anti-suit injunction granted in favour of insurers by Mr Justice Jacobs in September 2021 restraining proceedings from being brought in Canada and enforcing the exclusive English jurisdiction clause in excess liability policies.



Payment Fraud landscape shaped by technology in 2021

Payment systems across Europe are under increased pressure to mitigate fraud risks and defend against persistent attacks from enablers using ever more sophisticated and malicious viruses and malware.


Legal updates

Gosden and another v Halliwell Landau and another [2021] EWHC 159 (Comm)

This claim addressed the question, of when the date for assessment of damages in cases of negligence should be determined and shows that when appropriate the Courts will depart from the default position.


Legal updates

Assessing the scope of employers liability – Chell v Tarmac

These were the opening remarks of Mr Justice Martin Spencer when handing down his Judgment in the recent case of Andrew Chell v Tarmac Cement and Lime Limited [2020] EWHC 2613, the latest in a series of appeals dealing with the scope of vicarious liability.


The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up