On 28 February 2013 the Legal Ombudsman published a report identifying Family cases as being responsible for a significant proportion of complaints to their organisation. The report is called The Price of Separation and it makes an interesting read for Family Solicitors, clients and the general public. It includes a range of case studies, some of which give examples of what is clearly very poor practice by Solicitors. Interestingly, some of the case studies also show how clients can have unreasonable expectations or expect a particular outcome despite having been given reasonable advice to the contrary.
The report recognises that Family cases are particularly difficult because they involve such emotional and deeply personal issues. At Kerseys our Family Solicitors are very aware of this and always try to deal with matters in a sensitive and conciliatory way.
A significant proportion of the complaints to the Legal Ombudsman relate to the poor quality advice that some people were given by their Solicitors. This emphasises the importance of making sure that your Solicitor has got the right level of experience and expertise. At Kerseys we consider that we have a very strong team with several professional accreditations and many years of experience.
The largest area for complaint to the Legal Ombudsman was in relation to costs. The Report contains a salutary reminder to Family Solicitors of just how vital it is to ensure that we provide up to date information about what costs have been incurred and what the likely future costs are. This is a difficult task as it can be very hard to predict just how much work might be needed to deal with any particular issue. We at Kerseys always provide a cost estimate at the start of a matter and we update our cost estimates as the matter progresses. We know that costs are an issue for our clients and we always strive to keep them to a minimum.
How Kerseys Can Help
The Family Solicitors at Kerseys all belong to Resolution and therefore subscribe to a Code of Practice which commits us to resolving disputes in a constructive and non-confrontational way. We will always encourage our clients to negotiate a settlement rather than become involved in costly legal proceedings.
Although the headlines accompanying the Legal Ombudsman’s report have been rather unflattering about Family Solicitors in general, at Kerseys we are proud of the service we offer our clients. Of course, it is always possible to improve and we are continually reviewing the way we work in order to provide a high quality and cost-effective service to our Family clients.
Elaine Webb | Partner
Family Department, Kerseys