The number of litigants in person are on the rise. The temptation to engage in heated exchanges with one such litigant proved too much for this Chelsea based senior law firm partner, who has been fined £5,000 for his comments.
It is very easy for email exchanges to escalate, and looking at the comments on a personal level you can imagine how this happened. In a series of emails, he calls the ex-wife a liar, accuses her of addressing the judge like a fisherwoman, and threatens to call the police.
As an experienced family specialist I know that that these types of exchanges will help no one, not least the client who is essentially paying for the exchange.
It is a good example of a lawyer from another field 'dabbling' in family law. This was a commercial and property lawyer representing a client during court proceedings following a divorce in respect of arrangements for the children (called contact in this article, which is an old term) and financial support.
I have had to deal with plenty of litigants in person. I find that by communicating with them on a professional level and phrasing my emails appropriately, I can firmly protect my client's position whilst still keeping the litigant's level of distrust and acrimony to a minimum.
This ultimately benefits my client as it means that we can focus on resolving the key issues, rather than allowing minor issues or personal disputes to flare up, saving time and costs.
A senior law firm partner has been slapped with a £5,000 fine after he, among other things, accused a litigant-in-person of arguing with a judge “like a fisherwoman”. Stefano Lucatello — a solicitor at Chelsea-based outfit Kobalt Law — was representing a client in matrimonial proceedings against his ex-wife, the specifics of which related to child contact and financial support.