Taking initial instructions from family clients
Taking initial instructions from family clients

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Taking initial instructions from family clients
  • Initial contact with the client
  • Preliminary checks
  • Initial information to be given to the client
  • Non face-to-face interviews
  • Objectives of the first interview
  • Issues of capacity
  • Information gathering—divorce
  • Information gathering—financial
  • Giving advice
  • more

This Practice Note is impacted by the decision of the UK on 23 June 2016 to leave the EU. This has implications for practitioners considering which courts have jurisdiction to determine a dispute. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit and family law.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Handbook, which contains the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 (the Code), came into force on 6 October 2011.SRA Code of Conduct 2011SRA Handbook

The SRA Handbook sets out ten mandatory Principles which define the fundamental ethical and professional standards expected of all firms. The Code sets out the SRA's outcomes-focused conduct requirements. These are the mandatory outcomes that must be achieved in order to comply with the SRA Principles. The Code also sets out indicative behaviours which are non-mandatory examples of the kind of behaviours which may establish whether the outcomes have been achieved, and compliance with the SRA Principles.

Practitioners should familiarise themselves with the SRA Handbook and the Code, which set out the regulatory obligations in relation to client care. Both are available on the SRA's website. The provisions in relation to client care are largely contained in Chapter 1 of the Code.SRA Code of Conduct 2011SRA Handbook

The Law Society have produced a Practice Note providing some guidance on matters to take into account in a first interview with a new client: Law Society: Initial interviews Practice Note.

Initial contact with the client

Initial contact with a client is usually by telephone, letter or email. Anyone who takes initial telephone calls from prospective clients should be adequately trained as initial impressions are crucial. There should be appropriate systems and processes in place