Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Excess paperwork could be destroyed

Lawyers who produce excess paperwork could risk being named and shamed by the courts and face strict financial penalties.

And a Shropshire solicitor has welcomed the warning saying over-sized files slowed down legal proceedings costing valuable time and money.

Nadia Davis leads the family law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, and said court proceedings involving family issues were always stressful and could be a protracted and difficult experience.

“I’m very pleased to hear that the Family Division of the High Court has warned lawyers they could face having their fees withheld if they refuse to keep paperwork to a minimum – it’s no good the courts complaining about the difficulties it causes unless they are prepared to take action.

“And now, the threat is that bundles of files in family law cases will be destroyed without warning if they exceed prescribed limits, so lawyers will need to tread extremely carefully.”

But Nadia said it was also important that divorcing couples did not automatically head straight for the courts rather than consider the alternatives available.

“I was one of the very first solicitors in Shropshire to qualify as a collaborative lawyer, and my advice to clients is to talk their case through very carefully before resorting to court action. I work with couples going through a divorce on an agreement that shows they are committed to finding the best solutions through negotiation, rather than the courts.

“The agreement also prevents lawyers involved in the initiative from representing their client in court if the collaborative process breaks down. So this means everyone involved is absolutely committed to making it work,” said Nadia.

But this approach has not been adopted by everyone and national research has shown that only 51 per cent of those surveyed would consider a non-court based solution.

“The warning from the High Court shows that the legal system is ready to clamp down on lawyers who continuously flout the rules, and I am very pleased that decisive action is now being taken,” said Nadia.