Whilst litigants may find some of the information on this blog useful it is of course not the same as advice tailored to your individual circumstances. People often post comments on the blog asking for advice about their own family case, which I am unable to give via this website, because barristers have historically only been able to offer advice when instructed by a solicitor. I have written a book for people who are involved with the Family Courts but who have no lawyer, and you can find out more about that by clicking on the No Lawyer? tab above.
As of April 2010 Barristers like myself (you will see me identified on this blog as ‘familoo’ but in the real world I am Lucy Reed) who have completed the necessary training are now permitted to offer legal services in matters concerning family law directly to members of the public without the client first instructing a solicitor. This is called Direct or Public Access and it means that you will only need to pay for the services of one lawyer rather than two. I will accept this kind of instruction in appropriate cases – although it is only fair to point out that many family cases will be unsuitable and I may advise you to instruct a solicitor first or instead of myself.
As general guidance: Public Access is most likely to be the most cost effective and suitable option for you if you want general advice before a court case has started, or if you want advice about a very specific issue concerning a case that is already up and running, and you do not want to instruct a lawyer throughout. It will usually be written advice rather than representation at court that I can provide you with under Public Access.
If you are considering asking me to advise you or represent you, please first read the following information and then if you think you would like to proceed please fill in the online form on my chambers website here, stating on the form that you have come via the Pink Tape website. You will then be contacted by one of the clerks at St John’s Chambers.
Please do not be offended if the response is that I cannot take on your case – if you read the material I have recommended below you will see that there are often very good reasons that Public Access is not the best solution for you.
Please bear in mind that I run a busy family practice and am in court most days. I will consider any Public Access requests as soon as possible, but am unlikely to be able to start work before the essential formalities have been completed by you. My clerks can advise you about this. In particular I operate a policy that if you want me to represent you in court I will require at least a week’s advance sight of the papers in order to give me time to consider properly whether the case is appropriate for Public Access. This is to make sure that if I cannot take on your case you have time to find alternative representation..
Important Information to read:
Legal Services Board Guidance dated 31 Mar 2010 (see from page 44 for the guidance for Lay Clients – that’s you, in particular page 45 which refers to matters concerning children)
Once you’ve read this fill in the form.