Monday, 12 January 2015

The Tuesday Truth

This week's Tuesday Truth is written by Hester Russell of Harthills Solicitors and committee member of the Criminal Law Solicitors Association
Why can't we live together?
Dear Chris
Well, here we are again.  Court (again) on Thursday.  I don't think that anyone can believe that it's actually come to this. We have a very expensive legal system (you say); you want to make things easier (you tell me).  You know what Chris, change the bloody record!  Do you think I'm stupid?  I've seen those figures you've been pretending you haven't seen, I know that you are not being entirely upfront about all of this.

Do you remember how things used to be? I was so carefree in those wonderful, heady days. Remember?  Remember how it was before Chris, in those days when a fixed fee was almost enough to justify those years of student debt and those sorrowful searches for a training contract; when victims of domestic abuse could access help safely without "evidence" that they were victims, when prisoners could read books sent in by caring family and when interpreters always came to court when required and interpreted!  Where did it all go wrong Chris?  You must, surely, ask yourself the same question.

You wouldn't see sense Chris, don't say that I haven't tried.  I asked for mediation, remember?  You say you like mediation; it's cheaper, it's less stressful, keeps the bloody lawyers from interfering!  Yet I tried, I asked for mediation and you just bloody ignored me.  Like I wasn't even there and like I didn't mean a thing to you.  I sent you letters, e-mails!  We should have a very close relationship Chris; we should be working on this together, maybe even as a team.  Of course you've largely ignored me, or got your "mates" to send me emails telling me you don't want to speak to me.  Worse, you send your mate to court and in her statement she says that nothing I say would make any difference anyway!!  What is wrong with you?  We are in this together Chris and vulnerable people depend on us both.  I just want you to understand how much damage you're doing.

Think of the children Chris, that really is the very least that you can do.  When they keep asking why they can't see they can't see their daddy Chris, when their daddy can't get a solicitor because he's held down a modest job... well that's not my doing.  I'm not sure that these children will ever recover from this ordeal Chris and I think you should be ashamed of yourself.

Seriously, what is going on?  I can't find a solicitor within a thirty mile radius who deals with housing work, I'm struggling.  Thank you for funding the local students at the advice centre by the way - they were lovely.  They weren't qualified and they told me so but we really did have a nice chat.  I hope that nice young woman will become a solicitor one day; she said she always wanted to be you know, but she says there just isn't the work these days.  What a loss.  Says she's most likely going to try and get waitressing work when she graduates unless she can find work in a commercial firm.

Look Chris, what I'm trying to say is that I'm tired of all this.  I'm tired of fighting when I could be doing better things, I'm tired of spending time and money that I don't have taking you to court.  I hope and I pray that that the Judge will see through you again next week Chris but look - whether he does or he doesn't - can you just stop.  Will you please listen, will you please engage.  Believe it or not I want out of this awful relationship just as much as you do; but for the sake of us all, for the sake of the future please, please listen.

The Solicitors United xx


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