All our Advocates are bound to abide by the following guidelines and agree:
1. To always behave with honesty, integrity and courtesy.
2. To maintain confidentiality at all times.
3. To always advise a client if you believe they may be further helped by attending
a Citizen's Advice Centre, Law Centre or any Support Units found in the courts.
Assess whether you accompanying them may be helpful for both you and your client.
4. If unsure, to always seek an opinion from another experienced member of the network,
or the Network Co-ordinator.
5. To have prepared a short CV (Curriculum Vitae) for the Courts.
6. To be clear what the fee includes and what it excludes (eg travel and subsistence
costs for attending court).
7. Any time at court must fall within the agreed fee and not be charged as an additional
8. To abide by the Practice Guidance: McKenzie Friends (Civil and Family Courts)
(UK) and /or the relevant principles of The Family Law Handbook (Ireland)
9. At court remember that you are there to support your client, not for yourself.
You need to make it known to the court staff (ushers/ Registrars etc) that you are
there to assist your client. Permission may have to be sought to allow you in the
court room (Notice on Motion in Irish High Court). If this permission is refused
accept this gracefully, do not argue. Brief your client. It is a good practice to
have a crib sheet prepared for them in case you are refused permission.
10. Your client will be the one addressing the court unless you are given permission
by the Judge to speak on their behalf.
11. You and your client must follow any instructions or orders given by the Judge.
Ensure your client understands. Make sure you have good quality notes and within
24 hours provide a short report for the client setting out the key points and any
action they must undertake.
12. Do not in any eventuality mislead the court or anyone else.
13. If you have a personal interest in the outcome of the case (financial or otherwise),
it is best practice to pass the case to another Network Lay Advocate.
14. Any documents or forms you prepare on behalf of a client must adhere to the court
rules and be agreed with the client before any submissions are made.
15. It is good practice to provide a 'Heads of Agreement' with a client before undertaking
any work or accepting the payment of a fee.