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The Family Proceedings Rules (Northern Ireland) 1996

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Person under disability must sue by next friend etc

6.2.—(1) A person under disability may begin and prosecute any family proceedings by his next friend and may defend any such proceedings by his guardian ad litem and, except as otherwise provided by this rule, it shall not be necessary for a guardian ad litem to be appointed by the court.

(2) No person’s name shall be used in any proceedings as next friend of a person under disability unless he is the Official Solicitor or the documents mentioned in paragraph (6) have been filed.

(3) Where the disability of a person who is entitled to defend any family proceedings is not solely due to minority, the Official Solicitor shall, if he consents, be guardian ad litem; but at any stage of the proceedings an application may be made (on not less than 4 days' notice to the Official Solicitor, if he has consented to act) for the appointment of some other person as guardian; and there shall be filed in support of any application under this paragraph the documents mentioned in paragraph (6).

(4) Where a petition, answer, application or originating summons has been served on a person whom there is reasonable ground for believing to be a person under disability and no notice of intention to defend has been given or answer or affidavit in answer filed on his behalf, the party at whose instance the document was served shall, before taking any further step in the proceedings, apply to the Master for directions as to whether a guardian ad litem should be appointed to act for that person in the cause, and on any such application the Master may, if he considers it necessary in order to protect the interest of the person served, order that some proper person be appointed his guardian ad litem.

(5) No notice of intention to defend shall be given, or answer or affidavit in answer filed (by or on behalf of a person under disability) unless the person giving the notice or filing the answer or affidavit—

(a)is the Official Solicitor or, in a case in which paragraph (3) applies, is the Official Solicitor or has been appointed by the court to be guardian ad litem; or

(b)in any other case, has filed the documents mentioned in paragraph (6).

(6) The documents referred to in paragraphs (2), (3) and (5) are—

(a)a written consent to act by the proposed next friend or guardian ad litem;

(b)a certificate by the solicitor acting for the person under disability—

(i)that he knows or believes that the person to whom the certificate relates is a person under disability stating the grounds of his knowledge or belief, and

(ii)that the person named in the certificate as next friend or guardian ad litem has no interest in the cause or matter in question adverse to that of the person under disability and is a proper person to be next friend or guardian.

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