Lawyers involved in a family law dispute should strive to ensure it is conducted in the following manner:
1. Lawyers should conduct themselves in a manner that is constructive, respectful and seeks to minimize conflict and should encourage their clients to do likewise.
2. Lawyers should strive to remain objective at all times, and not to over-identify with their clients or be unduly influenced by the emotions of the moment.
3. Lawyers should avoid using inflammatory language in spoken or written communications, and should encourage their clients to do likewise.
4. Lawyers should caution their clients about the limited relevance of allegations or evidence of conduct.
5. Lawyers should avoid actions that have the sole or predominant purpose of hindering, delaying or bullying an opposing party, and should encourage their clients to do likewise.
6. Lawyers cannot participate in, and should caution their clients against, any actions that are dishonest, misleading or undertaken for an improper purpose.
7. Lawyers should keep their clients advised of, and encourage their clients to consider, at all stages of the dispute:
a. the risks and costs of any proposed actions or communications;
b. both short and long-term consequences;
c. the consequences for any children involved; and
d. the importance of court orders or agreements.
8. Lawyers should advise their clients that their clients are in a position of trust in relation to their children, and that
a. it is important for the client to put the children’s interests before their own; and
b. failing to do so may have a significant impact on both the children’s well- being and the client’s case.
9. Lawyers should advise their clients of and encourage them to consider, at all stages of the dispute, all available and suitable resources for resolving the dispute, in or out of court.
10. Lawyers should communicate and respond to client inquiries in a timely manner.
This blog was inspired by and based on the Law Society of British Columbia’s 2011 Report of the Family Law Task Force.
So what do you think? Do you have any tips for divorce lawyers?