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Just found out Ex's Solicitor for last 2 Years is a Family Friend - Eek!(4 Posts)
So been to a Directions meeting in court this morning in relation to ex wanting more contact with son.
Sat in waiting area and his solicitor walks in. Oh no! Recognize her as close friend to my partner's family. She is the Cousin's long-standing best friend. Her husband is my partner's, Cousin's business partner.
I didn't recognise her name on paper (because I just previously) knew her by first name and she didn't really talk about work, (why would she when she is relaxing). Been to a few parties where we danced, chatted, drank etc together. It is likely that we will be at many family parties together in the future too - as my relationship with my partner and his cousin's relationship is increasingly stronger.
Now she is representing apposing party in court case. Despite us previously getting on well- she is bound speak on behalf of her client (my ex) who is less that complimentary about me. Naturally her work face and party face are completely opposite.
I raised with the Usher that I knew her and was worried about a conflict of interest. He raised it with the legal adviser over-seeing today's directions. The solicitor came out and asked if I had a problem with her representing him and offered to refer to another solicitor -which may have meant significant delays when I was geared up today to go. So we went ahead.
The next stage though is in front of a judge and is set to be very thorny - ex harassment/childcare concerns etc . I just feel uncomfortable with her possible presence there. Bearing in mind that we are set joint party invites in the future.
Wondering how people would handle this situation. Are you aware of any legal rules that would suggest that maybe she isn't the right person to go ahead?
Now that the hearing today has passed and before any more work can be done on the brief, surely there's time for the procedure of the referral to another solicitor.
You might have been a little bit unreasonable to have gone ahead today, but not anywhere near as unreasonable as she was for accepting the brief and the conflict of interest. If anyone does try to play the card of "you shouldn't have let it go to court [today]," you must argue that you were put on the spot. The solicitor was not put on the spot; she had a chance to raise the matter when she was instructed. Even if she first recognised you today, she was there in a professional capacity, ought not to have been emotional (as you were), and ought to have been professional enough to raise it.
If you face any argument in asking for a change of counsel, you must turn it back to the solicitor's responsibility.
Hi girlinaswirl, I can totally understand that this must have been very awkward for you. However, your ex's solicitor doesn't owe you any duty to avoid a conflict of interest with you. She does owe your ex one, but if he is happy for her to continue acting for him then that's his call and there's nothing you can do about it.
In practice though, I think it's very likely that she will now consider that she has a conflict of interest with your ex and will get one of her colleagues to take over in future.
Oops! Should have also said that I was acting as a Litigant in Person today (so on own). I had a McKenzie friend with me but she was refused admittance - based on directions hearings not needing that level of support (!?) so was doubly slighted.
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