Most people hope that they never have to deal with lawyers, but when it comes to divorce, separation and contact with your kids, it can feel like your whole life becomes dictated by your solicitor’s diary. When you find yourself separated from your children, you naturally want your Family Lawyer to be competent, attentive and always to act in your best interests. Sadly, this is not always the case.
A Solicitor’s Duty
A solicitor’s duty is to his or her client, and not to do anything that is likely to damage the interests of the client. There are exceptions to this, such as the duty of solicitors to disclose suspicions of money laundering by their clients. In these circumstances, the solicitor can go to prison if they fail to report their client’s illegal activity, if it is subsequently discovered.
That said, you may want your solicitor to telephone someone on your behalf, to ‘give them a piece of your mind’ or to act in a particular way that you feel would ‘get them back’. This isn’t always in your best interests and may jeopardise your position later on, which is why your solicitor may not do what you ask them to do.
No Response To Your Requests?
Given the sensitivity of family cases, it can be easy to come to the conclusions that your solicitor does not sufficiently care about your case. Family Legal Aid is funded by a fixed fee, which means that no matter how much work your solicitor does on your case, initially they will only be paid a (fairly modest) amount. In very busy solicitors’ firms, you may be one of 300 cases that the solicitors deal with. While your case will be important, it may be very difficult for your solicitor to be able to speak to you when you telephone them. They may be talking to other clients or preparing a case for court.
Solicitors have different styles of doing business. Some may be experts on the law but seem emotionally detached from your case, whereas others may be very person-oriented and be very interested in the factual and emotional aspects of your case. Because of caseload, solicitors tend to prioritise their work. As a result, a client whose case is currently ongoing and who does not have a ‘deadline’ as such, will inevitably be less urgently dealt with than someone who is due in court for a full hearing the following day. There is, however, a difference between a busy solicitor and someone who appears not to care about your case at all.
What You Should Expect From Your Solicitor
A solicitor should respond to your requests, keep you updated about the progress of your case, and should reply to your phone calls and letters. A solicitor should also give you accurate and up-to-date information about your case, and not subject you to unreasonable delays.
When you first instructed the firm to deal with your case, you should have been sent details of the ‘complaints procedure’ within the client care letter. In the first instance, it is appropriate to lodge your concerns with the firm. This may be with the solicitor who is acting in your case, or it may be a more senior member of the firm such as a partner or supervisor.
If you don’t know the details of the complaints procedure, contact the firm to ask them who you should approach with your concerns. If this does not solve the problem, or you receive no response to your complaint, it’s time to go to the Legal Ombudsman. The number to call for the Helpline is 0300 555 0333.
Sacking Your Solicitor
It is also possible to sack your solicitor and to find someone else. You should simply communicate with your solicitor’s firm and tell them you no longer wish to act for them anymore. Alternatively, if you have found another lawyer, they may get you to sign an authority that shows that you consent to your old lawyer releasing your case papers to your new solicitor.
Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.
Non molestation order failed because they said most was historical yet I'd applied for this order due to last 6yrs of Harrassment and stalking and verbal and physical violence since leaving my ex husband..
Statement was changed, I wasn't aware I couldn't get copy of statements..
I informed solicitors of this fact, he said he would sort it but nothing changed.
I also stated not to go ahead if I didn't get legal aid.
The second hearing was worse.. My solicitor call me to I form me that I didn't have legal aid.. I phone NCDV who the police contacted about my case.. As they put me in contact with solicitors that took case on... I told them the situation... Untrue statement, no legal aid...
NOW a 3rd hearing I wasn't aware of took place on contacting my solicitor before hand he advised me not to answer court call... I followed is advise of solicitor only to receive court order to pay £1766 court cost to my ex..
Julie - 10-Feb-21 @ 9:31 AM
I was unlawfully arrested in april i was denied a solicitor i then had a volutry interview in which the solicitor i had was on the phone loud speaker he has done nothing i had another solicitor asking him to call me no nothing i asked for the dates on the second unlawful arrest he had nothing wriiten down no paper work letters were ever send to me its almost like they work for the. Police and they have told them i was never arrested on the two times
H - 15-Nov-20 @ 2:09 PM
I been ripped off by a educated, so called professional solicitor, he took the case with money and commission or recovery 20% but he did not inform me officially out comes, now he sold his firm, my trust on solicitor is gone for ever
For me Educated, trained day rubber
Khani - 9-Nov-20 @ 12:10 PM
Hi I tried contacting my soliciter son updates on my situation every time I rang was told someone ring me back no one ever did had no updates at all on my case . was told by email not to ring them or email leave it to them sort out . I only rang couple of times emailed proof as they never responded to my calls is this right I thought be updates bn weeks n weeks was shocked to get that email could understand if I was inundating them with calls and emails what was I supposed to do when opposition was contacting me direct not them is this standard procedure thought had a code of contacting clients even if only once not the paralegal
Dom - 19-Aug-20 @ 2:56 PM
I have a civil case which should have been heard on the 27/4/2020 due to the
unforeseen lockdown it could not go ahead.
the Civil Case is against my daughter who took monies without my knowledge
the matter has been on going since 2018 I have paid my solicitor approx. £35,000
I cannot get the solicitor to answer my e-mails and each time I have tried to speak to him I am told he has other clients.
One of my witnesses had an appointment in February 2020 to give a statement
in my favour to date there has been no statement prepared and other statements
have not been prepared I have asked why they have not been done (No Answer)
I received an urgent call from my solicitor to say the other side had made an application to strike out my case due to non compliance of the documents being sent on the date the court ordered my solicitor did not comply but he has charged me £2,800 it was his mistake should he not pay ?
the strike out did not happen the judge ordered that both parties had not complied with the order of the court and ordered that my solicitor exchange documents by the 18/5/2020 and the other side buy 8/5/2020 and the matter be stayed until 31st July 2020 to try mediation. My solicitor has not answered any of my e-mailsI don't know if we received the documents ordered by the court I have asked for the statements to be completed (No Answer) since this my daughter who i am taking to court has made awful allegations about my treatment of her as a child she is(53yrs old) the Police interviewed me in the presence of my Criminal Solicitor who advised me to say no comment the allegations are absolutly outrages and untrue my daugher started giveing her
statement in October 2019 one week after she received notice of the trial date
In my view my daughter tried to get my Civil Case stopped and she thought that she had approx 7months to get all her ducks in a row but then came the Pandemic and the application to strike out my claim
My daughter is an ex-police child protection officer she came out of the Police on medical grounds my daughter says that I broke her arm when she was 14yrs old my daughter has never had a broken arm but my solicitor says the police have a letter supporting that my daughter had a broken arm I have other witnesess who can state that when my daughter left my home she did not have a broken arm her twin sister did due to an accident in a shop which would be
My daughter has made allegations against many people including her ex mother in law my daughter informed the police that her ex-mother in law had a gun and stolen goods the ex-mother in law was raided on a warrant nothing
was found the reason that my daughters ex mother in law new it was her that told the police was that the ex mother in law was burgled and my daughter told her to claim for things that were not stolen she did not do that.
My daughter surley cannot keep getting away with what she does but the police
seem to just beleive everthing she say
none - 17-Jun-20 @ 4:25 PM
I’m in the process of selling my house
During selling negotiations we discovered that we have a small piece of garden on our property that we don’t own.
We’ve traced the original owner (now deceased) but his widow is perfectly happy to transfer this piece of land (full title), but hasn’t probate in place, but she’s happy for us to pay the probate fees, which we’ve agreed to do, so the land can be transferred
My solicitor contacted the widow’s solicitor 5 months ago and several times since asking for his fees and the timescale involved, but to date hasn’t received a reply
Is there anything I can do?
Graham Garner - 30-May-20 @ 12:25 PM
My partner is self representing in his divorce procedure (after spending over 10k and no results) The other sides lawyer is ignoring all his emails, possibly on the instruction of her client, as the client is trying to prevent the divorce proceeding,as financially she has more to loose and is Currently living in the family home. Who can he report this lawyer to in order to get replies in the hope the divorce will proceed to FDR?
Top - 23-May-20 @ 9:43 PM
My sister recently passed away. She had left a will with a firm of solicitors. I contacted them via email and phone. It is more than a week and I've had no reply.i understand they're are busy but I find it very discourteous not to acknowledge receipt of email. I would like to use another solicitor to deal with my sisters will can I do this?
Sue - 22-May-20 @ 4:30 AM
Solicitor broke my trust
Assumed I had a certain illness never asked me why I had surgery. Took it upon herself to inform the other side of an illness she assumed I had. A medical certificate was sent to the court and with the GDPR they never knew the nature of my surgery. When I challenged her 2 mins before the court started why she would say that I had cancer. She said I told her that. It never had a bearing on my case. She Lied to the court and then removed herself from the case and left me high and dry. I have a text to show I didn’t want the other side to know why I wasn’t going to attend the case. I had a letter to the court instructing them about my illness not to be discussed in court and then the solicitor blurts it all out.. the other side said they knew I had a mastectomy never have I mentioned that to her. I would love advice
Boruma - 7-Mar-20 @ 5:03 PM
My solicitor was retained & instructed to represent me in an RTA with myself being on the receiving end with injuries. The other sides insurance informed my solicitors they had admitted liability in Aug 2016. However since then there has been nothing but delays, sometimes 4-6 months before anything happens and only then as a result of me phoning to complain. My question is twofold.
Firstly, i was told fees would be 25% plus 10% if felt I was contacting them unduly.
I have been contacting them when nothing has been happening to get updates as they state they do not provide updates. This seems a deliberate policy to trigger the 10% clause. Is this legal?
Secondly, on 27/11/2019 I was informed that they have instructed another solicitor in Liverpool, my home city and where the case to be listed, to represent my case once listed. This information was via my brother whom they also represent. Should they have informed me and asked my consent before retaining another firm of solicitors and is this a breach of Data protection laws? And also is this legal as they informed me they would be representing me. I would ask the firm I retained but they seem to brush any complaints I have had off. This case has now been waiting since 2016 with long delays between stages eg. Took them nearly 12 months to obtain medical report after medical. Thanks
Richie - 2-Dec-19 @ 2:50 PM
£90,00is a lot of money for doing nothing not even giving trial bundle or correcting bridle adding evidence refusing to bring letters to court threatening client.its called stitching your client up.read lse your self regarding your case learn how to cite case law esp regarding ss..never agree to foster care.as are deceitful liars.dee forced adoption webpage.itsxall true.had I submitted and pointed out what I wanted to I'd have won my case immediately.
Anna - 1-Sep-19 @ 4:34 PM
My solicitor lost my case against a medical claim and I would like all my records back including pictures of my operation that went wrong can I get them back
Trevick - 29-Aug-19 @ 1:39 AM
I have been to see my solicitor and told him about the bullying and threats and the accusations and to watch my backand I told him about the threats as well and told him about the bullying from teenagers and people who don't know me
Ange - 3-Jul-19 @ 4:28 PM
Can you please advise me. Had to sack my sol and find another one. Should I stop paying first solicitor £250 per month. It did not finish case.. The law society have advised me its up to me??? "but I cannot afford to pay 2 solicitors. Have already paid revious sol. £5000. My new sol case is still being worked on to go to court clearing old sol dirty work up
Ritz - 19-May-19 @ 11:34 PM
This is a very interesting article where we would know what are the things we could do as the second option if the solicitors will not contact you back. This is a good read for the clients and solicitors as well. Thank you for sharing!
jmpsolicitors - 17-May-19 @ 2:08 AM
@Mia - sometimes solicitors don't answer calls if there is something pressing going on. But just before your husband is due back in court, your solicitor will sort the matter out. I think they deal with the most urgent priorities first.
Sam - 3-May-18 @ 10:58 AM
Could I possibly please get some advice or information about the situation that I am in currently? I would be very grateful and appreciating of any kind of answer or information.
The circumstances are the following:
Recently, about a week ago my partner got arrested by the police. He was taken into custody and had a court appearance the following morning which was a Thursday. That has been, when I have been contacted the first time by his solicitor, who briefly explained to me the situation my partner is in. After the court it was decided to not grant him bail as police opposed is on the grounds of him maybe leaving the country(just because his parents live in Italy, but me an my partner worked and lived continually since 1998 here in UK) or that he cannot be found, which is ridiculous as we have a home address, it is true we recently just moved here, but this does not mean we do not have a home address that he stays or lives at all the time. His solicitor even offered to turn over his passport and ID card, but they still refused. Since that he remanded in custody. Tomorrow it will be the first week that he has been held for. His solicitor told me after his first court appearance straight from the police station, that Thursday I was talking about before, we're they refused him bail, that he will apply for my partners bail at the beginning of next week which meant Monday. Since that Thursday, we're his solicitor told me they refused my partners bail and he will apply for bail again Monday, I did not get any reply, news or answers to my questions from his solicitor. It has nearly been a week and he won't answer my questions about if he has done the bail application and tried to apply like he told me, neither did he give me any news if it succeeded or not, nor if my partner is going to come home any time soon. Even after letting his solicitor know that my partners family and I are willing to be sureties to bail him out in case the application is not successful, was left unanswered. Is he allowed to this? I mean I really worry for my partner and just like to know what is going on or going to happen, but his solicitor completely ignores me. I worry because of this even more.
Any advice is appreciated,
Mia - 2-May-18 @ 2:46 PM
Clueless - Your Question:
Hello, what is a reasonable response time to a clients e-mail? My solicitor normally takes 1-2 weeks to reply.
Much depends upon the urgency of the email and whether the question can be answered immediately. The dads on our Separated Dads Forum may be able to help answer this question, as they will have had many direct and personal dealings with solicitors.
SeparatedDads - 14-Nov-17 @ 11:01 AM
Hello, what is a reasonable response time to a clients e-mail? My solicitor normally takes 1-2 weeks to reply.
Clueless - 13-Nov-17 @ 3:39 PM
Les - Your Question:
My solicitor has come in board but seens I nstructin him about my daughter being abused in care she only 3 he wont answer my calls put my order in to court for her return I have evidance of this wht can I do going out my mind with worry
As specified in the article, when you first instructed the firm to deal with your case, you should have been sent details of the ‘complaints procedure’ within the client care letter. In the first instance, it is appropriate to lodge your concerns with the firm. This may be with the solicitor who is acting in your case, or it may be a more senior member of the firm such as a partner or supervisor. If you don’t know the details of the complaints procedure, contact the firm to ask them who you should approach with your concerns.
SeparatedDads - 3-Jan-17 @ 12:04 PM
My solicitor has come in board but seens i nstructin him about my daughter being abused in care she only 3 he wont answer my calls put my order in to court for her return I have evidance of this wht can I do going out my mind with worry
Les - 2-Jan-17 @ 2:10 PM
Me- Your Question:
Hi Solicitor took on my case, but since sending the papers off iv not heard from them and don't remember who or what company they were. Please how can I find them it was about an injury I hadPleaseHelp
I'm sure they will be back in touch, as these sort of firms usually are hot on the heels of any potential business. There are hundreds of injury claim solicitors from around the country, making it impossible to help you find them. If they called you, look back through your phone when you think it was and try and find a number. Look for any correspondence you may have kept. Other than that, you may just have to wait and see if they contact you again.
SeparatedDads - 25-Oct-16 @ 10:09 AM
Solicitor took on my case, but since sending the papers off iv not heard from them and don't remember who or what company they were. Please how can i find them it was about an injury i had
Me - 24-Oct-16 @ 1:41 AM
I had a duty solicitor whenfirst interviewed by the police on a quite serious case. I then dropped the duty solicitorin favour of a new solicitor recommended to me.however aftersaying he was happy to take on my case I now cannot get hold of him and he does not return my calls or emails and has expressed reluctance to attend my second police interview in three days time. He has effectively left me without legal representation .If he fails to represent me am I entitled to use a new duty solicitor having dropped the first one?
mac - 20-Oct-16 @ 2:37 PM
Just discovered a solicitor representing me has broken the law by secretly withdrawing my counterclaim; tamperedwith my doc evidence via suppression/disposal and altered my statement of defence and witness statement on oath to give the misleading impression that I have admitted to the various fraudulent allegations when in fact my legal opponents, aided and abetted by my current solicitor, are hiding thematerial facts, particularly they are suing me with "unclean hands" and they are the one's indebted to me not the other way round, having misappropriated over £70K from funds that I remitted for the renovation of my property, among other things..Grateful to know whether to drop him before reporting him to the legal authoritiesor should I retain him until such time the authorites investigate my complaint etc.Many thanks.
Feli - 22-Jun-16 @ 1:46 PM
Ronni - Your Question:
I am helping my friend who lives abroad to get his house back.The house has been rented out for 23 years to someone on housing benefits. It appears she has become a protected tenant and refuses to move out.The solicitor acting on our behalf has been negligent on several occasions in preparing documents for court and despite his apologies and promises to put things right he continues to be inconsistent and unreliable.Can I dismiss him and find a more competent solicitor before the court case in September.
As specified in the article, it is also possible to sack the solicitor and to find someone else. However, your friend may wish to complain through the company's in-house complaints procedure first.
SeparatedDads - 20-Jun-16 @ 12:01 PM
I am helping my friend who lives abroad to get his house back.
The house has been rented out for 23 years to someone on housing benefits. It appears she has become a protected tenant and refuses to move out.
The solicitor acting on our behalf has been negligent on several occasions in preparing documents for court and despite his apologies and promises to put things right he continues to be inconsistent and unreliable.
Can I dismiss him and find a more competent solicitor before the court case in September.
Ronni - 19-Jun-16 @ 2:14 PM
Chappers - Your Question:
On trying to remortgage my leasehold flat it has come to light that there was an error when registering the lease at the Land Registry two years ago when I purchased the flat.I need to discuss this with the solicitor I used for the purchase but he has has ignored my emails and phone calls. As he's not currently engaged by me can I force him to respond in any way and to fix the error without cost to me, or do I need to employ somebody else and pay them to put things right?
The solicitor who dealt with the conveyancing on your property is definitely the person you will need to speak to. As specified in the article, as solicitors tend to prioritise their work, a client whose case is currently ongoing and who does not have a ‘deadline’ as such, will inevitably be less urgently dealt with than someone with a deadline. However, this does not mean you should be ignored. I would send a letter or email stating that if he continues to ignore you, you will have to file a complaint. I'm sure this will have the desired effect, if not then you will need to find out the complaints procedure and take this approach. If the error is the conveyancing solicitor's, then you should not have to pay.
SeparatedDads - 22-Apr-16 @ 10:20 AM
On trying to remortgage my leasehold flat it has come to light that there was an error when registering the lease at the Land Registry two years ago when I purchased the flat.
I need to discuss this with the solicitor I used for the purchase but he has has ignored my emails and phone calls.As he's not currently engaged by me can I force him to respond in any way and to fix the error without cost to me, or do I need to employ somebody else and pay them to put things right?
Chappers - 21-Apr-16 @ 10:33 AM
Sammy - Your Question:
My brothers girlfriend ha left my brother and their baby, her mom is a legal secretary, a solicitor has emailed my brother from the same company accusing him of domestic violence and saying they will be coming to collect the baby on a specific date, the police said that she is not to return to our address and the baby is staying at my brothers adress. Can a solicitor email? Do you think this is real or could it be fake?
I suggest you take this up directly with the solicitor who emailed in order to to verify whether the email is legitimate or not.