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Family business | Acting for other solicitors

Lawyers instructing their peers in divorce proceedings should remember that family ?litigation is based on more flexible principles and with a different type of objective ?than other disputes, says Marilyn Stowe

3 August 2012

Recently, I instructed a solicitor to act for me in a boundary dispute because I believed a developer’s new building edged onto our land. Instead of advising, I was being advised. I learned that if I was unsuccessful, the case could cost me dearly with two sets of substantial legal costs to pay. I was shocked at the difference in approach to that of family law. It was rigid. Inflexible. Fairness had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

For the first time in nearly 30 years, I found out what it was like to be on the other side on the desk. At my first appointment, I noticed the lawyer kept glancing at his watch. To me it was quite clear that he wanted to get away for lunch. Perhaps he had sufficient instructions from me, but I didn’t feel he had. I was seeking reassurance. Then, when his first bill arrived just two weeks later, I realised that the cost estimate ...

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