There are few areas of social life and legal practice involving more sensitivity and trauma than that involving family law. Clients frequently misunderstand the role of a lawyer in representing their interests in this area of law. While a lawyer has a professional responsibility to ensure that the client’s rights and interests are always paramount (subject only to laws relating to the welfare of children) lawyers are also officers of the court. As such, they play an important role in the administration of justice. To assist you in understanding our role as your lawyer, we set out below certain best practice objectives to which we will adhere to in the delivery of our services to you:
To provide high quality legal and other advice, to represent your needs in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner and to act in accordance with our professional obligations as lawyers and our duty as officers of the court.
- To ensure that your rights and interest are paramount subject only to laws relating to children.
- To encourage, counsel and systematically help you isolate the issues in dispute and to develop appropriate options for their resolution, where at all possible, in a spirit of cooperation with the other party and their advisers and with a view to reaching agreements which accommodate as many as possible of the interests of all of the parties by negotiation rather than by contested litigation.
- To assist you to regard the welfare of any children as your first and paramount consideration and to encourage you to promote cooperation and consultation between parents in decisions concerning children.
- To encourage you to provide full, frank and clear disclosure of all information relevant to matters in dispute.
- To provide candid and honest advice as to the merits and probable results of your case.
- To avoid heightening personal emotions by the advice we give and by the use of language or expression of opinion as to the behaviour of the other party; to represent your interests, not their anger.
- To advise, negotiate and conduct proceedings in a manner calculated to assist and encourage you to settle differences as quickly as may be reasonable, recognising that you or the other party may need time to come to terms with the consequences of the breakdown of the relationship.
- To advise, negotiate and conduct proceedings on your behalf in a manner designed to achieve a level playing field, to balance the power in the relationship and to ensure that neither party is disadvantaged by the control of money, property or power.
- To promote prudent family law practice and procedures designed to achieve the efficient handling and conclusion of your matter and the compliance either with directions of the court, orders, agreements and terms of settlement.
The contents of this paper are not intended to be a complete statement of the law on any subject and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice in specific fact situations. HopgoodGanim Lawyers cannot accept any liability or responsibility for loss occurring as a result of anyone acting or refraining from acting in reliance on any material contained in this paper.