next friend


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Next Friend

An individual who acts on behalf of another individual who does not have the legal capacity to act on his or her own behalf.

The individual in whose name a minor's lawsuit is brought, or who appears in court to represent such minor's interest. The French term prochein ami has been used to designate such an individual, but the term Guardian Ad Litem is more commonly used.

At Common Law, when an individual was unable to look after his or her own interests or manage his or her lawsuit, the court would appoint a person to represent that individual's legal interests. In court terminology this person was called a next friend, which is derived from the French term prochein ami. Individuals requiring a next friend included minors, persons who were mentally ill or mentally retarded, infirm or senile persons, and others whose disabilities prevented them from managing their affairs.

State statutes now set the qualifications and duties of a person who acts as a next friend, but these laws more commonly designate this person a guardian ad litem, or a court-appointed special advocate. Regardless of the designation, this person's responsibilities are now confined to representing a minor or incompetent person in a lawsuit or court proceeding. At common law, a next friend represented a plaintiff, whereas a guardian ad litem represented a defendant. This distinction has been removed in modern law.

A next friend is not a party to a lawsuit but an officer of the court. When the lawsuit is concluded, the next friend's duty ends. The next friend has no right to control the property of the person she or he represents or to assume custody of that person. These rights may be given to a person designated by a court as a minor's or incompetent person's guardian.

Guardians ad litem are commonly used in family and juvenile courts, where the best interests of the child require an independent, neutral person to safeguard the child's rights. The increased number of these representatives has led states to develop training and certification programs for individuals wishing to serve as next friends or guardians ad litem. Though attorneys also may represent juveniles, next friends provide valuable assistance to the courts.

Cross-references

Infants.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

next friend

n. a person (often a relative) who voluntarily helps a minor or incompetent in legal matters, particularly by filing a lawsuit. However, this informal practice has been supplanted in almost all states by petitions for appointment of a guardian ad litem at the time the law suit is filed. (See: guardian ad litem)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

next friend

a person acting on behalf of an infant or other person under legal disability.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

NEXT FRIEND. One who, without being regularly appointed guardian, acts for the benefit of an infant, married woman, or other person, not sui juris. Vide Amy; Prochein Amy.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
It held, while Faisal had "next friend" standing to bring suit on Plaintiffs' behalf, Plaintiffs' claims were nonetheless barred on political question grounds.
(f) An entry must be made in the diary at the place of detention regarding the arrest of the person which shall also disclose the name of the next friend of the person who has been informed of the arrest and the names and particulars of the police officials in whose custody the arrestee is
" There shouldn't be confusion in anybody's mind that the next friend of Ram Lala, that is me, belongs to the VHP," he said.
However, the Supreme Court has explained that limits on the doctrine of next friend standing are necessary to prevent a "litigant asserting only a generalized interest in constitutional governance [from] circumvent[ing] the jurisdictional limits of [Article] III by simply assuming the mantle of 'next friend.'" (71) The reference to a "generalized interest" draws a comparison to FISA reform proposals that direct a public advocate to represent the rights of the public at large, and allowing a statute to override core constitutional standing requirements could allow Congress to make an end run around Article III's limitations.
Almost a week after the application was lodged, the documents required to be filed in respect of E acting as A's next friend were filed pursuant to Rule 6 of the Family Proceedings Rules (Northern Ireland) 1996.
(50) The Court then held that Gilmore was mentally competent to waive his right to appeal because he had "made a knowing and intelligent waiver of any and all federal rights he might have asserted after the Utah trial court's sentence was imposed." (51) Therefore, his mother did not have "next friend" status.
The next friend sent an e-mail listing all the lines in the story that had been left out, he thought, in order to downplay the erotic specifics of the story.
Scott Sereff individually, and as personal representative of his wife's estate, and as father and next friend of their children, brought suit against all involved.
(8) One of the obstacles these litigants have faced involves a little-known, technical doctrine called "next friend standing." (9) Next friend standing allows a third person to file a claim in court on behalf of someone who is unable to file on his or her own.
His father, as next friend, filed a habeas corpus petition on his behalf.
Could David Schwimmer be the next Friend to tie the knot?
Thomas, for herself and as parent and next friend of Hope C.

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