30 January, 2020
Leading legal firm Forbes Solicitors has become the first in Preston and Blackburn to offer a service acting for both parties in drawing up a financial consent order within divorce proceedings where both parties are in agreement, following a new High Court ruling.
The new service follows a declaration by Mr Justice Mostyn that there is no conflict of interest in acting for both husband and wife (or same sex couples) when divorcing, if they have agreed everything between them and there is no disagreement.
He has further held that doing so is neither a reserved legal activity nor a reserved instrument activity and therefore not a breach of the Legal Services Act. This is a crucial judgment for the legal profession and family justice.
Forbes' new service will be offered by the private law team based at Preston, Blackburn and Chorley.
Judith Wright, Associate Private Team Solicitor says: "This is a massive ruling in terms of savings costs, as both parties can instruct one solicitor and have one set of costs, instead of each instructing their own and having two separate bills, doubling the cost.
"The judgment confirms that joint drafting of consent orders is possible and indeed necessary to provide affordable access to justice."
There has been demand for lawyers, mediators and others to be able to act for both parties in the drafting process for financial consent orders. The new legal ruling clears up uncertainty over whether acting for both parties was possible due to concerns over a conflict-of-interest.
The law change is expected to mean an increase in joint applications for family court consent orders.
For more information contact Judith O'Brien in our Family/Divorce department via email or phone on 01772 220022. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.