Commentary on Sections

Part 3 – Legal Profession: Other Matters

Section 61: Offence for unqualified persons to prepare certain documents

160.Section 61 amends section 32 of the 1980 Act to remove a difficulty which would otherwise prevent an extension of rights to conduct litigation as envisaged by sections 25 to 29 of the 1990 Act. Section 32 of the 1980 Act makes it an offence for any unqualified person to draw or prepare any writ relating to any action or proceedings in any court. Sections 25 to 29 of the 1990 Act for their part provide for rights to conduct litigation (and rights of audience) to be granted to members of professional or other bodies, subject to the approval in each case of a scheme prescribing safeguards in relation to such matters as the training requirements to be imposed on members, the provision required for professional indemnity insurance and the arrangements for handling complaints against members.

161.The offence in section 32 of the 1980 Act is not however disapplied by the 1990 Act in relation to a member of a professional or other body which has acquired rights to conduct litigation. A member of such a body who sought to exercise such rights in good faith would therefore be guilty of an offence. Section 61 resolves the difficulty by adding an exception to the offence in section 32 of the 1980 Act in respect of a member of a body which has made a successful application under section 25 of the 1990 Act, but only to the extent to which the member is exercising rights acquired by virtue of section 27 of the 1990 Act.