Where a solicitor’s business address has been properly given as the address for service of a party, that solicitor is said to be “on the record” as acting for that party and, as such, will continue to be served with documents and will be expected to attend court hearings until such time as it is “off the record”. That will not occur until a notice of change of legal representative is filed by or on behalf of the party pursuant to CPR 42.2, or, in the case of a legally aided party funded case, until the firm files a notice of discharge or revocation of the funding certificate, or until the solicitor obtains an order for the removal of its name from the record pursuant to CPR 42.3.
Often, when a legal representative and his client part company the client does not instruct anyone else to represent him. In that case the former legal representative will often prepare a notice of change and either obtain his former client’s signature to it and file it at court or will send it to the former client for him to sign and file. The former legal representative will usually warn the client that if the client refuses or unreasonably fails to serve and/or file the notice he will apply for an order that he has ceased to act together with an order for the costs of the application.
An application for an order declaring that a legal representative has ceased to represent a party should be made under Part 23 and should be supported by evidence. The notice of application and evidence should not be served on other parties to the proceedings but should be served on the former client unless the court directs otherwise.
An applicant for an order declaring that he has ceased to be the legal representative acting for a party should consider whether he wishes the application to be dealt with without a hearing. As a general rule the court will make an order without a hearing (adding permission to apply to stay, set aside or vary the order) if satisfied that the application is made by consent, is unopposed or appears overwhelmingly strong.