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Legal conduct

  • JUMP
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12 May 19 #507546 by JUMP
Topic started by JUMP
I had a really difficult time with my solicitors who tried to get me to agree to take out a really large litigation loan once my funds had run out. Initially he had agreed to take payment out of any settlement (as he was confident I would come away with a financial settlement) and said he would get a trainee/junior solicitor (with occasional guidance) to keep costs down . I was struggling financially as my husband had taken all our savings & assets. We have three children and I receive no financial support from him for the children or household. Weeks before my first Financial order hearing my solicitor confirmed, as I had not sign the litigation loan that he couldn't represent me.
I spoke with him and confirmed that I would have to self represent, he said I would have to put this in writing and sign them off as my legal representative. I did this and sent one to the courts and one to my ex-husbands (then) solicitors and they both sent acknowledgments back
A week later I received a copy of an email for an urgent application to the courts & costs of over £700 against me for not signing them off. They had also included a covering statement filled with mistruths, slights on my character and that I had a litigation loan in place and was not taking it. I complained to them and sent a copy to the courts and they withdrew the application the following day.The problem was when I did attend the first Financial order hearing the judge said he wanted to deal with the urgent application by my solicitor. It was the same judge that the solicitor had requested their urgent application be put before. I was confused because the application was withdrawn. I had letters confirming the application had been withdrawn in court but the judge would not accept them. The judge asked me if I was going to pay the costs and I said no because the matter had been withdrawn. The judge was not happy with this and kept laying into me about the costs. I asked him if he could check the file to see the letters and he refused. He spoke about the matter for quite sometime but would not accept anything I said. Eventually I sat silent and couldn’t respond anymore, I was upset. Towards the end I recall him saying because my solicitors had not attended court he would reserve costs. He then turned to the Financial Hearing proceedings. The judge was unnecessarily rude and sharp to me throughout the hearing his tone and understanding to my ex-husband was completely different. My ex had not completed most of the required documents, the judge asked him how long he would like to get them done and then went on to give him until the end of July to do so - they had been outstanding since Oct 18 and my ex had a Penal notice against him for the outstanding paperwork the judge said he would not address the Penal notice. This process has really concerned me, I am worried about the impact of this hearing on future hearings. The judge seemed so irate from the moment I entered the court. I feel his perception may have been shaped by the statement of misinformation made by my solicitor that was supposed to be withdrawn. I also wondered that since he did actually carry out the urgent application (which was supposed to be withdrawn) can my (ex) solicitor now send me the bill for it or apply the reserved costs ? The following day I received a letter from my solicitor requesting I send a copy of the court order. Two day’s after I received a letter from the head solicitor telling me that I needed to send them the court order, any paperwork I prepared and any paperwork prepared by my ex-husband. I am very worried as they are no longer acting for me, so have no understanding why they would need this paper work and I am not happy with the statement they submitted with misinformation, which now rests on my file for any judge to read.
As they are signed off as my solicitors, are they entitled to be provided with all my court papers ? baring in mind they state I now owe them monies not covered by the funds I had given them. If I refuse to send them all my documents can they submit another application for the next hearing because they may be entitled to the papers as they are now owed and want their money ? The reason I don’t want to send them the documents is because I am concerned they may look to find something of which to complain or an application could be made to the courts again. I just know that they are upset about me not taking out the litigation loan and I am very worried by them. I would appreciate any advice on these questions.


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15 May 19 #507595 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
Firstly, your post is difficult to read and it sounds as though the legal processes that have taken place around you have not been adequately explained. I will try to simply but I have had to make some assumptions.

It sounds as though your solicitor wanted a commitment from you to pay their fees and in the absence of that they applied to the court to be removed from the court record.

When you engage the services of a solicitor they would normally file a ‘notice of acting’. The notice of acting signifies to other parties and the court that you have instructed a solicitor to step into your shoes and to act for you. From that point onwards all parties have to communication with you through your solicitor.

The solicitor will remain on the court record as acting for you until such a time as you decide to act as a litigant in person or you instruct another firm to replace them. If neither of these occur, the firm has to make an application to be removed from the court record. Perhaps this is what occurred?

If the position wasn’t clear at the hearing it may be that the costs are reserved in order that a subsequent judge decide who should pay the costs which might be your solicitors if they were at fault.

If you no longer wish to have the solicitor acting for you, you do not have to give them any papers or communicate with them although you may still have to pay their bills for work which you instructed them to carry out. It may also be the case that they have papers of yours which they won’t release until you pay their bills which is fairly usual.

The judge being irate is probably down to having to deal with issues that do not progress the case. The court resources are at breaking point and judges do get stressed to the point of illness but most often rudeness. It’s not right but it does happen and you have witnessed. This is unlikely to affect how the Court deals with you in the future.

If any of the above fits in with the papers you have feel free to provide further information.

Charles

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