FREE READ | February 2021 | ETHICS CPD
Written and presented by By Neil Jackson, Barrister
Family Law battles are commonly laden with high emotion. The nature of civil litigation means that there is a dispute, an often-bitter contest. This is not the typical commercial dispute one would see in a Supreme Court case. Nor a personal injury claim contested in the District Court or the County Court. Nor a criminal case involving a State-operated Public Prosecutor and a defendant fighting for his or her liberty.
The completing litigants are former family members, people who in the past were commonly deeply in love and then fell out of love.
Such high emotions can regretfully be aided and abetted by their lawyers, who are commonly instructed to be “aggressive”. How often have you heard a new client say to you when seeking family law representation: “I need someone who is aggressive”. (I have been known to answer such a question with the answer, at least in my head: “Why don’t go to the local zoo and get a tiger?)
My experience has seen family lawyers in the pursuit of representing their clients, especially during periods of negotiations, make unnecessary threats and behave gratuitously aggressive.
This paper will provide family lawyers with tools to prevent encountering situations that can turn toxic. This includes:
o Back to basics: the professional courtesy rules and when to use them.
o Crafting constructive correspondence and following client’s instructions.
o Tone and content essentials.
o What to do when you receive letters containing threats and time limits for a response.
o Countering ambit claims.
o Focusing on settlement and not the fight-solicitors modeling appropriate and ethical behaviour.
o Tips for cultivating good relationships with your opponent.
o When it is time to make a complaint?
Download this free resource.
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