• Published: 15th Aug 23
  • Category: News

In an interesting case earlier this year, Baxter v Doble, a tenant made a counter claim that the landlords legal representative (Ms Doble) was not regulated to deal with court litigation.

As a result Ms Doble faced a claim for contempt of court.

The background to the case was that the landlord was looking to obtain a possession order against the tenant and employed the services of a firm who specialised in such matters. They were not solicitors although Ms Doble is a member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CiLEX). The tenant argued that Ms Doble was not regulated and authorised to conduct litigation.

The Legal Services Act 2007 makes it an offence to carry out a reserved activity if you are not authorised to do so. Schedule 5 of the Act provides a list of those that are considered to be authorised. Whilst a member of CiLEX can have rights of audience i.e appear before a court, they can’t conduct litigation.

The case centered around whether Ms Doble was conducting litigation. She argued she was not as she had not represented the landlord in court. The evidence showed that she had amongst other things, drafted court forms, paid the court fees and entered into correspondence with Baxters representatives. This was enough to convince the court that Ms Doble was guilty of conducting unauthorised litigation. By doing so she could be held in contempt of court.

Ms Doble was able to demonstrate that she were unaware that this amounted to an offence and having taken this into account alongside her good character, the court found that whilst guilty, she was not in contempt of court and she escaped a custodial sentence.

This case does highlight the importance of ensuring that if you need to seek possession through the courts that you use a suitably qualified person. It also highlights why an Agent can’t complete court forms on behalf of their landlord clients.




Please note the date this article was published as the law or the essence may have changed since it was posted. You should always seek independent legal advice if you are intending to rely on any of the contents. Unless stated otherwise this article only reflects the position for the Private Rented Sector in England and therefore may not apply to other countries within the United Kingdom. 

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