Changing Solicitor mid case

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Robin D
Posts: 1929
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:58 pm

Changing Solicitor mid case

Post by Robin D » Sun Jan 31, 2021 6:50 pm

Nothing to do with Family and Friends care, but the underlying question could easily come up in one of our cases. It's also rare for me to ask for advice, but to this I don't know the answer.

I am supporting a mother who has had her children removed. Complex background that I don't want to go into, but I personally know mum is a lifelong victim on many levels:
  • She was serially abused in family as a child.
  • Was abducted and raped at 14.
  • Her most recent partner was a control freak and took complete control over every aspect of her life.
  • Said partner was violent and aggressive.
  • When mum lost it and fought back it, was in front of the children hence the removal. Partner now completely off the scene.

The issue is that the case is going very badly, and her solicitor (on legal aid) is not fighting her case at all. They are not challenging anything that comes out of the LA. Hearing's of course means that mum is only able to listen on the end of the phone. Contact still has to be supervised four months down the line, yet she has done nothing to give any indication that she would actually harm the children. (They are good adoption material!)

If mum sacks her solicitor, can she replace them on legal aid? If yes, what is the process please? Or is she stuck with the one she has even if she has lost all confidence? I don't think mum is up to becoming a litigant in person so leaving her without representation is not an option.

Any thoughts or suggestions please? This is quite urgent. The case was listed for mid March, but I understand there will now be a delay.

Best wishes and stay safe.

Robin
Former F&F carer, foster carer, adopter and respite carer for umpteen children. Now retired and when with kids, making sure they 'go home' at the end of the day.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Changing Solicitor mid case

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Feb 01, 2021 6:59 pm

Hi Robin,

It sounds like you are dealing with a complex case.

Your question is about changing solicitors halfway through a case.
Yes- in principle, the mother can change solicitors at this stage. However, it can be quite tricky in practice. The best thing to do is to ring round solicitors who undertake legal aid and discuss with them the issues and ask whether they will agree to take on the case before she sacks her original solicitor. If they say they will, then they will advise mum to give notice to her current solicitors and the legal aid certificate will be transferred to the new solicitors.
Something else to consider would be for the case to be transferred to a more senior solicitor in the firm, if there is one. If you were making a complaint, then this could be something to ask for.
Good luck and post again if you are still struggling.

Best wishes,
Suzie

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Robin D
Posts: 1929
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: Changing Solicitor mid case

Post by Robin D » Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:26 pm

Many thanks for the swift reply Suzie. We have initiated contact with a trusted solicitor and await the response.
Former F&F carer, foster carer, adopter and respite carer for umpteen children. Now retired and when with kids, making sure they 'go home' at the end of the day.

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