Representation in Court or before a Tribunal



I represent clients in civil cases in

  • High Court - Business and Property Courts
  • Upper Tribunal - Lands Chamber
  • First-tier Tribunal - Property Chamber (Land Registration)
  • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
  • Supreme Court

If you would like me to represent you in court at a trial or other hearing, or before a tribunal, in a business or freehold property matter (such as a case involving rights of way, adverse possession, or restrictive covenants) click on the appropriate option below:


I am about to start legal proceedings. Will you be able to represent me at the trial?

If the case is in an area of law I practise in, such as a business or property dispute, then Yes, I should be able to represent you at the trial, if I am available on the eventual trial date. However when you are considering starting legal proceedings it is important to have legal advice on (1) whether you have a good legal case and (2) how your legal claim should be worded. One reason why it is important whether you have a good legal case is that normally (not always but normally) you have to pay the other side's legal costs if you lose. How your legal claim is worded is important  because even if you are in the right you might lose on a technicality if you do not follow the court/tribunal rules and identify, at the appropriate point, the correct legal classification of the facts of your case. So rather than wait until near the trial before you contact me, ask me to advise you before you start proceedings.

I am already involved in a court/tribunal case. The case is in the early stages and I do not yet have a date for the trial (final hearing). I haven't asked you for advice before but can I engage you to represent me at the trial?

If the case is in an area of law I practise in, such as a business or property dispute, then Yes, I should be able to represent you at the trial: you will normally be asked, before the court/tribunal fixes a date for the trial, for a list of any dates when you or any of your witnesses (if there are witnesses) will not be available, so my dates of unavailability could be included in that list to try to ensure that the trial if fixed for dates when I would be available. But, first of all I would need to look at the documents you have, visit the site (if it is a case about land) and provide you with a written Opinion on the case. You may be thinking that you don't need an Opinion and all you want is for me to represent you at the trial but, if I am to represent you at the trial, I would need to consider all the documents (and see the site if the matter concerns land) anyway so actually writing up the Opinion is only a small part of the overall work of analysing  the documents in the case. I would need to see the pleadings, court/tribunal orders so far, and other relevant documents you have. 

The legal process requires you to identify to some extent (in the pleadings), and limit, the legal arguments you can subsequently make at trial, and, subsequently the process requires the identification of the documents which it is proposed to rely on at trial. It might turn out that your chances of success at trial could be increased if your pleadings were amended so that different or additional arguments can be made at trial and/or it might be advisable to search for further documents (e.g. in public registers) which might help your case, but you will nearly always need special permission from the court/tribunal to amend pleadings, or to rely on documents not disclosed by the deadline for disclosure of documents, if the other side object, and there may well be a costs penalty, so it is a matter of balancing the increased likelihood of success, against that penalty, when deciding whether to seek to amend/seek to rely on further documents but, all other things being equal, the earlier such an issue is identified and the earlier an application is made to the court/tribunal (or the earlier the other side is asked if they agree - some things can be agreed between the parties without needing the court's/tribunal's explicit sanction) the more likely it is that any application will succeed and/or the lower the likely cost penalty. So even though the trial date itself might be a long time away, it is important not to delay but to ask me to advise now. Send me an email explaining the background and attaching any key documents (for example a plan if it is a dispute about land, or the contract if the dispute is about a written contract) as PDFs. You don’t need to give all the details and all the documents in this initial email, just a summary. However if you do decide that you want to provide a sizeable number of documents with your initial enquiry, the best way to do this is using Google Drive. 


I am already involved in a court/tribunal case and a trial is due to take place in a couple of months time. I haven't asked you for advice before but can I engage you to represent me at the trial?

If I am available on the trial dates and the case is in an area of law I practise in, such as a business or property dispute, then Yes, I should be able to represent you at the trial but first of all I would need to look at the documents, visit the site (if it is a case about land) and provide you with a written Opinion on the case. You may be thinking that you don't need an Opinion and all you want is for me to represent you at the trial but, if I am to represent you at the trial, I would need to consider all the documents (and see the site if it is about land) anyway so actually writing up the Opinion is only a small part of the overall work of analysing  the documents in the case. I would need to see the pleadings, court/tribunal orders, and every document which was disclosed by either side (disclosed by either side at the previous disclosure of documents stage) in order to assess the strength of your case and what documents (out of all those documents which have been disclosed) you should include/require to be included in the Trial Bundle so that they can be used at the trial. You can load up the documents to Google Drive and then send me an email asking for a quote for a written Opinion. A quote can't be given until you have loaded up all the documents (I don't study the documents in detail before giving a quote but I need to be able to see them - see how many pages there are and dip into selected documents to get a feel for the case, in order for a quote to be given).

If the trial is only a couple of months away the chances are that you are already beyond the disclosure of documents stage and each side will have already been required, as part of the legal process, to identify the documents it proposes to rely on in the case as well as, to some extent (in the earlier pleadings), to identify and limit the legal arguments it can make at trial. If I am the first qualified lawyer you have asked advice from (or you have doubts about the legal advice you have previously received, or if it is possible that a previous lawyer, when advising you, might not have seen all the document/had all the information now available) it might turn out that your chances of success at trial might be increased if your pleadings were amended so that different or additional arguments can be made at trial and/or it might be advisable to search for further documents (e.g. in public registers) which might help your case. You will nearly always need special permission from the court/tribunal to amend pleadings, or rely on documents not previously disclosed if the other side object, and there may well be a costs penalty, so it is a matter of balancing the increased likelihood of success, against that penalty, when deciding whether to seek to amend/seek to rely on further documents but, all other things being equal, the earlier such an issue is identified and the earlier an application is made to the court/tribunal (or the earlier the other side is asked if they agree - some things can be agreed between the parties without needing the court's/tribunal's explicit sanction) the more likely it is that any application will succeed and/or the lower the likely cost penalty. So even though the trial date itself might seem a long time away, it is important not to delay but to ask me to advise now (it would have been better to ask me to advise at the outset but, of course, but you have to start from where you are).


I have a hearing next week. I haven't asked you for advice before but can I engage you to represent me at the hearing?

Providing the hearing is not a trial but is some other kind of hearing - for example an application for an interim injunction - then it is quite possible that I may be able to represent you at the hearing. An application for an interim injunction is, by its nature, an application for something temporary pending trial and does not require as extensive a consideration of documents as is needed in preparation for a trial. Send me an email with a copy of the Notice of Hearing and a brief summary of what the matter is about and, if I am available on the date and it is in an area of law I practice in, I will normally ask you to send some further information/documents so that a quote can be given.

If, however, the hearing is a trial then it is unlikely that I will be able to represent you with only a week's notice. This is not just because I may be engaged to do something else on the trial dates (the less notice you give me the more likely it is that there will be a diary clash particularly if the trial is due to run for several days) but because, as explained in the answer to the previous question (see above), I need to be able to see, and have time to analyse, all the disclosed documents in the case and there needs to be time for all documents I advise should be relied on to be included in the trial bundle. If you have not previously had advice from a qualified lawyer, ideally it should be considered whether the pleadings need to be amended and whether further relevant documents should be searched for (e.g. in public registers) but, as a minimum, I would need to have time to analyse at least all documents disclosed by both parties, before the deadline for the trial bundle to be finalised, and it is unlikely that that would be possible in the time available. 


I have made an application to the Land Registry and the Land Registry is now about to refer my application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber - Land Registration). I haven't asked you for advice before but can I engage you now?

Yes. It is always better to ask me to advise from the start but, that said, many people do, in order to save fees, draft the Land Registry documents themselves and, although the Land Registry cannot give legal advice, if a document is substantially correct and complete but is just in the wrong form the Land Registry will often explain what you need to do to put it in the correct form. However when it gets to the point where the Land Registry is asking you to comment on a Case Summary just before the case is referred to the tribunal you can and should seek advice at that point if you have not done so before. Send me an email explaining the background and attaching the key documents (for example the draft Case Summary which the Land Registry has sent you) as PDFs. You don’t need to give all the details and all the documents in this initial email, just a summary. However if you do decide that you want to provide a sizeable number of documents with your initial enquiry, the best way to do this is using Google Drive. 

John Antell Barrister


This page was lasted updated in December 2018Disclaimer