The introduction, development and evolution of new methods of resolving family disputes for changing families means there is a need for us all to look at how we communicate as members of Resolution; with our clients, with other members, with our clients’ former partners if they are not represented by a lawyer, with other members of our clients’ families, with other non-member lawyers, barristers, judges and more widely within the family justice system.
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In reality all family law clients should be considered as vulnerable, they are usually in a state of heightened emotion when they first meet with their lawyer, and we are usually asking them to explain very personal and upsetting matters with someone they have not met before. There are of course very different degrees of vulnerability and how best to support and assist our clients can be an area of concern and confusion, particularly to less experienced practitioners. This guide is designed to set out some best practice guidance on working together with vulnerable clients.
This practice guide provides an overview of working within the Code of Practice when faced with the complex and sensitive matters associated with domestic abuse cases.
Social media can be a useful resource for family solicitors to connect with the public and other professionals, publicise campaigns, raise the profile of members and communicate about the work we do. As it can potentially reach a very wide audience, we must be careful about how our use of social media impacts on our client-related work.
Client care is an essential part of a lawyer’s role and is the very first topic dealt with in the SRA Code of Conduct. It is subject to regulatory control due to the importance of the relationship for the client, who may not have had any reason to consult a lawyer in the past.
Subject to the rules on vexatious litigants, anyone is entitled to act in person. However, there is a tendency to treat people who do as a nuisance. With the reforms to family justice, cut backs on legal aid and changes in behaviour in relation to the ways in which people approach family relationship breakdown, it is increasingly likely that you will deal with litigants in person and you should consider how your dealings will differ from those with another lawyer.
Written correspondence, such as emails or letters, is still the main method of communication in family disputes. The impact of letters and emails can be significant; therefore, consider who the recipient is and what you hope to achieve with the communication.