If a personal injury or clinical negligence claim has been issued and a client wants to switch solicitors, perhaps because they have been getting a poor level of service, then the new solicitors should comply with the requirements specified by Part 42 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998. As the Rules state, the new solicitors should file the court form N434 at the court and serve the form on the former solicitors and all parties in the claim.
Sometimes a personal injury or clinical negligence solicitor wants to stop acting for their client and the client refuses to serve their own Notice of Change of Solicitor. In such circumstances, the solicitor who wants to stop acting for their client must make an application to the court, in order to remove themselves from the court record.
To make an application to stop acting for a client, the solicitors must serve the court form N244 together with information stating why they no longer want to act for their client, providing evidence. Usually a court will approve the solicitor’s application to stop acting for their former client. If so, then the client will be acting in their own personal injury or clinical negligence claim on their own unless they find alternative solicitors who would then need to serve a Notice of Change of Solicitor. A solicitor should think very carefully before coming off the court record if there are urgent court directions to comply with.
If a personal injury or clinical negligence client finds themselves without legal representation, then when approaching potential new solicitors, they should provide all the information, specifically including any court orders, to the new solicitors.