Angry Client

Solicitors are not employed to act as ‘postman’ to vent the anger of their clients

In the Court case of Simic & Norton [2017] FamCA 1007 Judge Benjamin referred with concern the “culture of bitter, adversarial and highly aggressive family law litigation” in the Sydney registry of the Family Court.

The Court said that some of the correspondence between the solicitors was inflammatory and reflected the anger of the parties. The letters were at times accusatory. They were often verbose and at times involved unnecessary tit for tat commentary. Some of the letters served little or no forensic purposes.

The Court noted that solicitors are not employed to act as ‘postman’ to vent the anger and vitriol of their clients. The solicitors are professional legal practitioners and charge significant hourly rates for their time and skills. To that end, they must ensure that correspondence and communication is necessary, balanced, considered and relevant.

Particularly in family law litigation when clients can often be distressed, anxious, angry, upset and emotional it is our role as lawyers to act fairly, reasonably, and competently. Our role is to identify the issues and help resolve the dispute, not to add unnecessary fuel to the fire. In this case the Court found that the solicitors conduct was unacceptable.

Jacqueline Conquest, Principal, Accredited Family Law Specialist