The green light has now been given to lawyers and others to act for both parties in drafting consensual family court documents. In a judgment on 20 January 2020 Mr Justice Mostyn has given a Declaration that there is no conflict-of-interest for a leading online service to act for both parties in the drafting of a financial consent order under the terms of its business model. 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.
Financial orders in the family court are very complex technically precise and difficult to draft by non-lawyers. There has been demand for lawyers mediators and others to be able to act for both parties in this drafting process. Previously there had been uncertainty whether it was possible due to conflict-of-interest. In any event could it be undertaken by non-lawyers if it was a reserved activity for solicitors? This was referred to the High Court for a Declaration.
The judgment resoundingly confirms that joint drafting of consent orders is possible and indeed necessary to provide access to justice....
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