How To Combat Legal Bullying

3 min read
A cartoon woman cowers away from solicitor intimidation. Parachute Law discuss Legal Bullying in Family Law and what to do if you are affected

Legal bullying by your opponent

This is sadly common in Family Law and in disputes over property. Sometimes, your opponent can use bullying as a tactic to intimidate you or wear you down. Here are some examples of legal bullying by your opponent:

  • Consulting with all the local solicitors first, creating a conflict of interest which prevents them from working with you
  • Delaying or refusing to instruct a solicitor of their own, preventing your case from progressing
  • Repeatedly changing solicitors, or, representing themselves when there is no need for them to do so
  • Wasting your solicitor's time with unnecessary correspondence or unfounded appeals
  • Making unfounded complaints or allegations against you, your legal team, or others involved in processing your claim

How to combat legal bullying by your opponent


    Get Support

As well as friends, family and your own legal team, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) provide support, when requested by the court. Ask your solicitor about making a Cafcass application.

Rights Of Women provide support to women seeking access to justice following domestic abuse or sexual assault.


    Get a safety plan

A safety plan is helpful for anyone with an open family law case against an abuser or ex abuser. It will differ depending on your situation, but will involve ways to mitigate the risk of further abuse for you and any children involved.

You should devise strategies for income, housing, health care, food, child care and education, which are not tied to or reliant on the abuser. This can be an overwhelming task and will be easier with the support of a women's legal advocate or men's legal advocate.


    Get informed

Familiarise yourself with the legal issues and court process for your type of case, whether it be family law or something else. The better you understand your situation, the harder it will be for a bully to manipulate or coerce you.

Legal bullying by a solicitor

Solicitors are held to strict codes of conduct, with severe consequences for a breach, which makes these incidents far less frequent. However, there is always a risk of human error, and occasionally solicitor misconduct occurs.

If you are being bullied by a solicitor, collect evidence of each incident and report the misconduct.

While there are some perfectly normal legal tactics designed to apply pressure to either side of a lawsuit, if a solicitor crosses the line into bullying or intimidation, this is completely unacceptable.

We'll look at the recent case against James Brookes who was fined £40,000 for breaching several principles of the SRA Code of Conduct.

His conduct included:

  • Attending the father's family home on up to five occasions without proper cause
  • Sending inappropriate emails
  • Recklessly serving a 'without notice' court order on a school, when no such order had been made
  • Requesting payment from the father's partner, with no legal basis to do so

He was found solely and highly culpable for the misconduct which detrimentally affected the mother, the father, the father's partner and the children.

If you are being bullied by a solicitor, you should complain directly to their firm, you may also bring a claim against them to the Solicitor's Disciplinary Tribunal, as well as reporting the solicitor misconduct to the Solicitor's Regulation Authority.

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