I’m not “soliciting ” forgive the pun, a Solicitor/Barrister bashing thread, but people should be aware that currently there is a barrister who has served time for "perverting the course of Justice" in a Family Law case.
He is going to faces the BAR council for there comment too.
It took a lot of effort for the police to refer it to the CPS to prosecute, yet the Judge in the trial was going to send the LIP (father) to Jail for contempt of court near enough immediately.
There is a fundamental problem with the England and Wales Family Law system.
There is some consensus that the family courts are under resourced, slow and difficult to understand at times but all the reforms in the world can't fix everything. Litigation in family cases starts from the position that the parties are unable to to live together, to communicate or agree and it's easy to forget that for every family which is failed by the system there are others who have been helped. I've lived in several countries and they all have problems, albeit different ones, with the legal system.
Every profession/group has it's black sheep (or grey lambs as one French lawyer translated it) I've even come across a number of McKenzie Friends who put their own agenda before the interests of the person they are supposed to be helping, or stick to principles backing everyone into a corner.
It's not that long ago a FnF official made “false and defamatory allegations” against a father in a letter written on an FnF letterhead to a judge. FnF receives a government grant and now has to pay tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs and damages.
A few years ago another FnF official signed this Fathers' Manifesto (signatory 78) by the pro sexist and racist Christian Party. The Fathers' Manifesto is bad enough, but there is also a petition calling for the repeal of the American 19th Amendment which gives women the right to vote.
You would agree like this forum demonstrates that the use of Lay services will allow people to either instruct their legal team better or have support that can be equivalent (but not legal advice) for them in court.
As any publicity, it takes 10 times as much to correct 1 piece of bad publicity, but many organisations have made headway in children rights.
For some, the only access to the appeal route is through the support of friends not lawyers.
I have been lucky to be involved in approximately 30 cases which have created case law, and through lobbing with others the recent Presidents Practice Direction on McKenzie Friends.
You need light in a green house to grow strong, lets turn the light on in family law..
Let me see - I can trace the origins of my profession back to the 11th century. In all that time there has only been one reported case of a barrister falsifying evidence. It should never have happened, ever, and there is no excuse - but one bad apple in 10 centuries - does that really deserve a thread of its own, or is there perhaps an agenda clearly written throughout and all over this post??????????
I have to say I sat on my hands when I saw we had a McKenzie friend amongst our number, as I am (perhaps naturally you may think) somewhat cynical as to the value of these "lay representatives", on the basis that every case where I have had one involved the issues become over complicated, heated emotionally and I have never seen one be of any use.
Representation is a choice. You can choose to pay someone to represent you who has studied law and procedure for years, goes to court every day, knows the particular nuances of the judges before whom they appear, and has given their alliegance to a code which tells them at all time they must represent their client fearlessly. Oh, and who is regulated and insured just in case something goes wrong.
Or you can pay someone who hasnt studied law or the procedure, who is not allowed to stand up and speak on your behalf, and who had not been trained to forensically weigh up evidence and advise. Oh - and isnt either regulated or insured....I know where my money would go .
On this thread are 3 people who each do a heck of a lot voluntarily in support of people going through the family courts.
There are many flaws in the system, and i don't need to tell anyone on this thread what they are.
But one key issue is around choice, affordability and access to legal representation.
Each of you in your own way has shown a willingness to offer advice and support to those that need it - based on their need and not on whether they can afford it.
A central plank of Wiki's strategy is to make available a range of support services that cover the needs of all users.
That range will be expanded to include:
- free advice and support
- FREE DIY divorce petition guidance
- low cost fixed price divorce petitions and Consent Orders
- resources for self reppers
- access to "lay representatives"
- access to legal representation (solicitors and barristers)
- access to legal aid funded legal representation
Wiki will be unique in offering this full range of options.
No standard law firm or Mckenzie friend network can do this alone.
But Wiki can and will.
We are actually all in the same boat guys.
You just spun the boat around a couple times and im getting dizzy.
We are actually heading that way =======>
Look, over there! A whole gaggle of divorcing peeps being circled by sharks
Paddle like fury and dont stop til we have em all safely aboard HMS Wiki.
(please read to the end to find the message of this post)
So why do you exclude the Lay Person?
Do you know there history, qualifications or life experience;
How many companies have you run, life saved, represented your country, worked in various commercial, government and charitable sectors?
How many multi million pound budgets, employee's report to you?
How many medical issues have you been involved to treat a child the right way because of mental disorder?
How well do you know the Law? Telling a client he/she has no chance for an appeal but than been successful at the Court of Appeal and than allowed others to benefit from that case law?
And more telling –
How many cases do you turn down if you do not agree with what your client is trying to do?
How many times have you accept no-fees after the client has lost their legal aid 000000000000
The important factor is not an “I’m better than you” between professions, but how as a team of people, we as a whole can provide the best outcome for the family and not just the individual one party represents, within and outside the current remit of Law.
I find most of your last post irrelevant - but in terms of how many times I have represented clients free when they have lost legal aid - a great many, as I have when they are privately paying and have run out of funds. If I start a case I finish it, whether the client has funds or not - as far as I am concerned not being able to pay should never ever mean that a person is not entitled to decent professional representation. In terms of other non paid representation and advice - at least half of my working week, every week of the year, is given over to pro bono work.
In terms of intimating that McKenzie friends are a profession at all, never mind part of the legal profession let me make this clear....you are not, nor will you ever be, a member of the legal profession, and to even begin to intimate you are is actually a criminal offence.
Turning to "We all have something to offer" - sorry, no, not in the legal field you dont - and until I see a Mckenzie friend actually assist in a real live case, I will never believe so. I wouldnt allow a McKenzie doctor to treat me, or a McKenzie dentist near my teeth, and I firmly believe a McKenzie friend has no place in a court room.