QLD Representing Parties Solicitor

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by langley.p, 15 March 2019.

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  1. langley.p

    langley.p Member

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    My aunty in NSW passed away last year. She was in a "care home" with dementia for past two or three years. She took in lodgers 18 months before "care home". She has left all property etc to them. Quite a substantial amount eg $3-4m.

    My aunty's solicitor is also acting for "lodgers". Our family is disputing her "altered" Will that was changed once the "lodgers" were in her house. But the solicitor has been refusing to accept the caveat by not accepting emails/phone calls etc.

    I have no idea of Law, but doesn't seem right that Solicitor can act on behalf of both parties ????

    Phil
     
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    with an estate of that value, forget asking punters on a website like this. Get yourself to a solicitor's office asap
     
  3. langley.p

    langley.p Member

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    Thanks Sammy01. We are sourcing a solicitor. Just wanted to check whether law in NSW permitted a solicitor acting for two parties in opposition to each other. Just didn't sound right. Appreciated your response.
    Phil
     
  4. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    A solicitor cannot act where there is a conflict of interest between clients - as that would force them to prefer one over the other. Courts and Law Societies would prefer that they don't act for multiple parties in a situation, but are allowed to do it as long as no conflict arises (once it does, they can't act for either party).

    On what you've said, I don't see a conflict (or 'opposition' as you've put it). If the solicitor acted on behalf of the executors of the estate and also the beneficiaries, and a beneficiary sought to challenge the estate - then that would be a different proposition.

    However, you have mentioned that the solicitor has been not accepting contact. The only time that is acceptable is where you're a client of another solicitor and you're trying to make direct contact. Otherwise, the NSW solicitor's conduct rules provide a solicitor must (for example):

    - Be honest and courteous in all dealings in the course of legal practice (Rule 4.1.2);
    - Deliver legal services competently, diligently and as promptly as reasonably possible (Rule 4.1.3);
    - Avoid any compromise to their integrity and professional independence (Rule 4.1.4); and
    - Not engage in conduct in the course of practice which is materially prejudicial to the administration of justice or diminish public confidence in it (Rule 5.1.1), or bring the profession into disrepute (Rule 5.1.2).

    Failing to respond to legitimate requests for contact within a reasonable time may be seen to be in breach of the above.
     
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  5. langley.p

    langley.p Member

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    Thanks Rob. Greatly appreciate your thorough info and time taken to reply. Yes, the solicitor has acted on behalf of the "new" executors of the estate. I was just a bit confused as that solicitor was my aunty's solicitor prior to her changing over her Will / executor to the "lodgers" - and prior to the "lodgers" utilising his services. Thanks again. Phil
     
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