High Court confirms that certain actions taken in divorce proceedings can lawfully be performed by non-lawyers

JK v MK and E-Negotiation Ltd (trading as amicable) and The Queen's Proctor [2020] EWFC 2

In an important judgment handed down on Monday 20 January 2020 relevant to disciplinary law, Mr. Justice Mostyn has held that (1) there is no conflict of interest for the First Intervener firm to act for both parties, by analogy with the joint instruction of a firm of conveyancing solicitors to sell a jointly owned property, and the system of "red flags" developed by the firm neutralised the risk of a conflict arising; and (2) where a non-lawyer gives assistance to people to fill in certain forms and court documents, including the necessary consent order, there is no breach of the Legal Services Act 2007, because they are not reserved legal activities, either within Schedule 2 paragraph 4 (conduct of litigation) or paragraph 5 (reserved instrument activities).

This ruling will widen access to justice for those seeking to divorce who cannot afford professional lawyers.

Vikram Sachdeva QC acted for amicable, instructed by The International Family Law Group.

Simon Murray acted for The Queen's Proctor, instructed by the Government Legal Department.

The judgment is available here.