Can you trust family members?

A written agreement could even save your family

A written agreement could even save your family

My last blog post discussed the massive advantages of having an agreement in writing – a written agreement helps avoid disputes and makes it more likely that any dispute will be resolved in your favour.

However, we often like to believe that agreements with family do not need to be written agreements. After-all, members of families are supposed to be nice to each other, and always act honestly towards each other. Blood is thicker than water, right?
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Why your agreement should be in writing

Handshake

Contrary to what some believe, an oral agreement can be enforceable, as long as the elements of a contract have been met. However, there are major advantages in having an important agreement reduced to writing.
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Government regulation of media an enemy of free speech

Why the proposed media regulation in Australia was a terrible idea:

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Why you should exercise your right to silence

When I act for clients suspected of having committed criminal offences, I always advise them to say nothing to the police until and unless they have cleared what they want to say with me first. This video explains why you have everything to lose and nothing to gain by talking to police.

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What you need to know about ‘no win no fee’

Sometimes lawyers are willing to run a case on a  ‘no win no fee’ basis. This is reasonably common in personal injury claims. Normally, your prospects of a successful outcome have been assessed as being strong before your lawyer has agreed to this. The arrangement is essentially that your lawyer will not charge you until and unless you receive a successful outcome. There are however a number of potential catches that you should be aware of. Here is a short and not necessarily exhaustive list.
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Response to Adam Creighton’s anti-lawyer rant

While I took a break from blogging, Adam Creighton had a column in The Australian which blamed lawyers for the high levels of regulation in Australia. This is my belated response.

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What if I know that my client is guilty?

Surprisingly, I get this question every so often from people who meet me and know I am a lawyer, including clients (but not criminal law clients). It’s an interesting question because it involves resolving conflicts between my duties to the client and my duties to the court. As this article will demonstrate, the answer is not a simple one.
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Thanks for reading

This is the last post of the year. I am heading off for a Christmas break. Should be back around mid-January next year,

In the meantime, here’s an interesting piece about how to conduct a successful family law mediation.

Merry Christmas!

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12 cognitive thinking errors family law clients can make

Scalesfix

In any area of law, a client’s perceptions of matters are often inaccurate. This is partly because clients don’t have the benefit of the knowledge that comes from experience in such matters. Part of a solicitor’s job is to educate a client about the process, the substantive law and the like. As a result, I have learned in time to take special care to manage the expectations of my clients and after every significant event I ask the client whether they understood what has happened, and get their account so that I can ascertain their perceptions.

In family law, a client’s perceptions are further clouded by their emotions. Many clients’ perceptions of the situation are completely twisted because their emotions blind them from actuality. As a result, what a family law client believes to be the case often is not the case at all. And many clients resist being told (and even resent) someone else telling them that their perceptions are inaccurate.
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High Court makes right call on ACT gay marriage laws

HCAcourt_1

No matter what your views about the issue of same-sex marriage are, and the merits or otherwise of same-sex marriage, I strongly believe that the High Court made the right decision in today unanimously declaring the ACT Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 invalid.
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