Lawyers must advise clients of ways of resolving the dispute without starting legal action

In our legal system, the solicitor/client relationship has long been recognised as a fiduciary relationship.

Lawyers must, as early as practicable:

  • (a)advise clients of ways of resolving the dispute without starting legal action
  • (b)advise clients of their duty to make full and frank disclosure, and of the possible consequences of breaching that duty
  • (c)subject to it being in the best interests of the client and any child, endeavour to reach a solution by settlement rather than start or continue legal action
  • (d)notify the client if, in the lawyer’s opinion, it is in the client’s best interests to accept a compromise or settlement if, in the lawyer’s opinion, the compromise or settlement is a reasonable one(e)in cases of unexpected delay, explain the delay and whether or not the client may assist to resolve the delay
  • (f)advise clients of the estimated costs of legal action (See rule 19.03; [Parenting] and clause 6.03 of schedule 6)
  • (g)advise clients about the factors that may affect the court in considering costs orders
  • (h)give clients documents prepared by the court (if applicable) about:
  • (i) the legal aid services and dispute resolution services available to them
  • (ii) the legal and social effects and the possible consequences for children of proposed litigation,
  • and
  • (iii) actively discourage clients from making ambit claims or seeking orders that the evidence and established principle, including recent case law, indicates is not reasonably achievable.
  • (2)The court recognises that the pre-action procedures cannot override a lawyer’s duty to his or her client.
  • (3)It is accepted that it is sometimes impossible to comply with a procedure because a client may refuse to take advice, however, a lawyer has a duty as an officer of the court and must not mislead the court.
  • (4)If a client wishes not to disclose a fact or document that is relevant to the case, a lawyer has an obligation to take the appropriate action, that is, to cease to act for the client.

Note:Section12E of the Act requires legal practitioners to give persons considering instituting proceedings documents containing information about non-court based family services and courts processes and services.



Alan Weiss

23rd March, 2020

Alan Weiss developed after he experienced himself how devastating divorce proceedings can be. I witnessed firsthand my own future security, and that of my familys, being destroyed by acrimonious and costly divorce litigation. I created to help people avoid an experience like this and lose thousands of dollars. Instead the system will assist them in getting on with their lives.