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Should solicitors advise you if no longer acting on behalf of client?

Oh wise ones

Hopefully this is a relatively easy question.

Timeline - my husband's ex's solicitors sent request via email (and snail mail on 3rd) that my husband sign an undertaking within 14 days. Due date is actually tomorrow (17th) - two days before the school holidays is due to commence.

My husband sent an email to the solicitor on 7th asking "what are ex's intentions if undertaking is not signed?". The implication was that if my husband didn't sign the undertaking then there was a very good likelihood that the child would not be put on the flight to see us this holidays.

To date there has been no response from the solicitor (and there has been nothing from the ex regarding the undertaking/matter either).

Do we now assume that the solicitor is no longer acting for the ex? If that is the case, should the solicitor have advised my husband that they are no longer acting on behalf of the ex? Or, did the ex not actually have any intentions if the undertaking were not signed, and therefore no response was required. Although common courtesy would decree that there should have been some sort of response.

Are solicitors required to advise the other party that they are no longer acting for the client?

Look forward to the replies.

Thanks Andykay
Straight answer: Yes.

As soon as they got your husband's email/letter they should have told him they no longer act and to direct future corres to her or to her new solicitors if they know who they are.

If court proceedings are on foot they also have to file a notice of withdrawal to get off the record.

Possibly they've lost the correspondence but equally possibly they are having trouble contacting their client or worse, having trouble getting her to be sensible and give them proper instructions.

Your husband should call them ASAP and ensure they got the letter and still act. If they say they are "taking instructions" you can safely assume it means one of the two other possibilities above.
Hi Sunnyside

I have just found that answer out as well from the Legal Services Commission. This is not in the court system and the undertaking was a promise that my husband would return the child at the end of the holidays and all future holidays, so in fact it was turning out to be quasi court orders. There are currently no court orders in place. Long winded story and two rounds of mediation and a whole lot of other rubbish.

The Legal Services Commission also advised that if the client has instructed the solicitor to not say anything, then the solicitor has to follow their client's instructions. If this is the case, then this is just so morally and ethically wrong when you are talking about whether a child can see their father or not in the school holidays. The way the undertaking was worded and how it was presented gave the implication that if my husband didn't sign it, then he wouldn't see the child. He has already returned the child twice at the end of holidays, but her boyfriend has just found out the she moved the child without my husband's consent, so I think that has set the cat amongst the pigeons.

Is it any wonder that non-custodial parents give up. They can see that spending a heap of money or time is not benefitting the child, it just exposes the child to more anger and anguish. That is the main reason my husband hasn't pursued this legally to start with, and that we also don't have the money (asset rich cash poor - and very difficult to sell a house given the current climate).

In response to your last paragraph, yes it is a nightmare. I initiated court proceeding representing myself, and depending on the age of the child, you may have a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding, even slightly of having a legal arrangement put in place, or having the custodial parent facilitate contact. Six months and countless hours researching, worrying and not sleeping affected my mental health and current family relationship because of an ideal that I could provide a vastly better opportunity for my child's future by having the child live with me. It seems the system has been put in place just to see how many hoops you're willing to jump through for the outcome you desire. After six months, the FM asked if I wanted to continue with a hearing at the last court appearance. I said 'no'. Now I sleep at night and have mended my relationships at home with my wife amd children.

Unfortunately, the Family Law process is long and drawn out (and add expensive when you hire lawyers). Only use it as a last resort, I found out the hard way. Money is not the only price you pay.
There is no doubt that every time we see our children it is a blessing, even in equal care situations you need to be aware of the other parent absconding with the child/ren for a period of time.

We do need to keep fighting to change the system for the better, if we do give up and let the system roll over our children nothing will change.

The best advice that could be given at this point is accept the possibility the child will not be there and if this is so then start proceedings to establish written orders.

Be very careful about signing promissory notes especially if you can not meet their monetary implications, a well worded letter stating that you agree to this holiday period but need time to asses viability for future holidays will show a willingness to mediate the situation whilst showing commitment.

It's not unusual for lawyers to use blackmailing techniques under the heading " Without Prejudice " or some such note.

There was nothing like the words "without predjudice" anywhere in the correspondence. The undertaking that they want my husband to sign ends up looking more like quasi court orders. I , husband name, undertake to do this for this holiday and all future holidays.
             what I did when the x's soictor was hounding me with this and that restriction (this was a very much there and then situation), was to respond with, I have no issue with this and that if this and that apply to both parents". Funnily enough, this and that, was then a lot lot shorter. This uses a what I'll call "conditional acceptance" and can be a very useful tool in negotiating, basically you don't say no to a decision, you hand the decision making back with an agreement that they have to make a decision upon. I find it quite useful at work in overcoming the bullying technique so often used. In fact I used it this week when they wanted me to take time of in lieu more at their convenience rather than mine. I said I had no problems with adhereing to the restrictions if they got HR to confirm that is the restriction applied to everyone (knowing full well it wasn't).
That is a good point, why not use it as an opportunity to get a parenting plan happening? Like he signs a shorter undertaking that confirms he will send the child back on X/X/XX (end of these holidays) as long as she sends him the flight details. Then say in relation to future holidays let's commit to writing what each party will do. Could be a blessing in disguise for you guys.
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