Someone who appears in court in place of another who is not competent to do so, usually because they are a minor or are considered incompetent. Often the role is filled by a parent or other relative; it can be any legally-competent person whose interests do not run counter to those of the person on whose behalf they are acting . The "next friend" is not a party to the proceeding, nor are they a formally-appointed guardian. Instead, they are considered an agent of the court whose role is to protect the rights of the incompetent person.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A person, usually a relative, who appears in court on behalf of a minor or incompetent plaintiff, but who is not a party to the lawsuit. For example, children are often represented in court by their parents as next friends.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:20 pm