Help for Foreign Lawyers
We repeatedly come across the same problems which foreign lawyers encounter in looking at potential claims in the Isle of Man:
- "My client had an accident in the Isle of Man but lives here in England/Ireland"
- "I have got a client in the Isle of Man and I am not sure if I can sort their accident out"
- "I have been running this file for two and a half years and I now I need to issue and I find that I cannot issue proceedings in England"
Tempting as it is to do some initial work on a claim which clearly relates to the Isle of Man a foreign lawyer must remember that it is a criminal offence in the Isle of Man to act as an advocate or prosecute or defend an action unless holding an advocate's commission.
In practical terms, costs incurred by foreign lawyers are habitually struck out by the Assessing Officer when claimed so any costs that you incur will not be recovered even if your client is successful.
We are often asked by foreign colleagues to act as their agents on the basis that they will be the principal and make all the decisions.
Firstly, a foreign lawyer is not qualified to tell us how to run a claim in this country. There are significant differences between Manx law and the law of neighbouring jurisdictions and major procedural differences.
Secondly, once your client has been introduced to an advocate of the Manx Bar, as a professional courtesy, we in this practice always try to use a referring lawyer as our agent if need arises. Often this will be the case because the client resides outside of the Isle of Man and we will need to take instructions from time to time. When that happens your costs for acting as our agent will be recoverable as a disbursement on our account but not if you try to deal with the claim yourself.
Thirdly, it is not our policy nor is it sensible to accept instructions on an agency basis given the above problems. However, sometimes there are reasons why this has to happen, for example union panel membership or total quality management audit requirements. In such a case we can, of course, act provided that you confirm that your client understands that two sets of legal fees are being incurred one of which (yours) is not recoverable whatever the outcome.
Why not simply contact us for a chat? Your problem is a simple step away from a simple solution.