Concerns over ‘trainee’ advice for divorcing couples

Would-be lawyers could be brought in to advise divorcing couples under government plans, according to reports.

A wide range of media reported in April that Justice Minister Simon Hughes is considering setting up a network of advice centres, staffed by students and trainee lawyers, who would work with divorcing couples who are representing themselves in court, for example because they are having difficulty funding their case.

The idea has raised concerns among legal professionals with the Solicitors Journal quotingJo Edwards, chair of family law body Resolution – which promotes a non-confrontational approach to resolving family disputes – as saying: “The reality is this is complex stuff that needs specialist advice from qualified professionals.”

Hannah Kelly, who heads Palmers’ Family Law team, said: “Divorce is a serious business and seeking legal advice from qualified and experienced professionals is the best way for people to understand their case, so that they can make informed decisions.

“At Palmers, we understand that the costs involved can be a real worry. For this reason, we offer a fixed fee initial interview for £75 plus VAT and also offer fixed price divorce packages.

“Our advice can also help people in negotiating agreements around arrangements for children and financial issues, without the need for going to court, which can also help to keep costs down significantly. For more information, please contact our Family Law team.”