Many people will have seen news reports this morning about legal fees for Divorce and Child cases. As with many professions, it is sad to see that a small minority of bad practitioners can tarnish trust and reputation of the vast majority. Many divorce and Family Lawyers are all too aware of the problems clients face with their legal costs and do what they can to keep them to a minimum. There are plenty of different ways in which that can be done, from including junior members of staff for the more basic parts of the case, through helping clients to undertake as much of the preparation as possible and appropriate themselves, through to offering fixed fee agreements in appropriate cases. Clear communication about cost is also important, and clients should feel able to ask about their costs and discuss them on an on-going basis.
There have been suggestions that Family lawyers could run cases simply to increase costs, instead of encouraging clients to settle. Whilst that may happen, it is not something any reputable family solicitor would do and in fact, a great deal of our time is spent discussing potential settlement options and trying to 'hammer out' a deal in order to keep costs in proportion. Solicitors who are members of Resolution sign up to a code of conduct dealing with the need to keep things amicable and avoid unnecessary fights. Many solicitors, such as ourselves, also offer Mediation and Collaborative Law as alternatives to litigation.
Legal advice in family law proceedings can be invaluable and it is important that people are not put off obtaining appropriate advice by examples such as those released today. For more information on the subject, and advice on ways to minimise costs, contact our specialist Family Law Team on: 0800 916 9055.