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.
Family proceedings (whether court-based, collaborative or otherwise) should be conducted cost effectively without compromising the quality of advice that clients crave and deserve, balancing the benefits of any steps taken against the likely costs – financial or emotional. Many family cases are now concluded without the involvement of barristers. However, certain clients will benefit from representation by an effective team of lawyer and barrister in order to achieve an appropriate balance between cost and quality. This guidance note offers advice on best practice for solicitors/legal executives when working with a barrister.
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.
Issues regarding fertility law have increased significantly in the last few years and members are now likely to encounter such issues on a more frequent basis. There are family lawyers who have a particular specialism in fertility law but it is an area in which we should all be able to give advice and assistance when requested. This guide aims to assist our members on best practice in this area.
Non-married cohabiting relationships look set to continue to increase year on year, so advising clients embarking on cohabitation, those already living together wanting to understand their ‘rights’ and those whose cohabiting relationship has broken down, will form an increasing part of the workload of family lawyers. This guide aims to assist Resolution members and their conveyancing lawyer colleagues to manage these cases effectively, in accordance with our Code of Practice.
It is very common, particularly once court proceedings have commenced, for one or both parties to struggle to meet ongoing legal fees. The parties are usually already struggling to adapt to financially supporting two separate households and may be unable to release funds from assets held in joint names, for example.
One of the most important aspects of a family lawyer's job is to draft documents on behalf of clients. The documentation can take many different forms and it is often these documents that are pivotal in resolving disputes between parties, whether at a court hearing or in negotiations.
This practice guide provides an overview of working within the Codes of Practice when faced with complex and sensitive issues involving Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It does not seek to be a ‘how to guide’, as there are many publications available for you to refer to.
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.
Service of documents is a particularly sensitive area. It is sometimes essential that documents are served upon the other party personally, but this could inflame the situation and be counterproductive to the aims and ethos of the Resolution Code of Practice.
This guide looks at the issues and ways in which service of documents can be achieved in a constructive way, in order to avoid increasing the acrimony between the parties.
Family lawyers all over the country are seeing an increase in cases involving international aspects. This guide looks at the specific code of practice issues arising in international cases and gives guidance on how international cases can be dealt with in a code-compliant way.
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.
The Guides to Good Practice build on the Code of Practice by developing the ethos behind it into areas of practice. They are intended to help demonstrate the way in which the Code should be applied in day-to-day situations. This guide focuses on referrals to contact centres and the best practice needed in these cases.
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.