September 28th, 2018
If you are currently a party within family court proceedings, there’s no doubt that you will have done some research about having legal representation during those proceedings. You may also be aware that legal aid is not easily accessible for family court proceedings following significant cuts. This can leave you trying to secure legal representation from a solicitor which can be costly.
At Hawkins Family Law, we always recommend having full legal representation for any matrimonial proceedings. This is to ensure that your case is put forward to the court properly and that you obtain full specialist family law advice. We understand, however, that this is not always affordable for everyone. You may therefore have to consider alternatives.
One alternative is to represent yourself and arrange to have assistance for court hearings only. This could involve you doing the paperwork and the legwork between court hearings and then arranging for a barrister to represent you only for the hearing date. Not all barristers offer this but, if they do, it will state on their website that they do “direct access”. This is certainly worth considering as an alternative if you cannot afford a solicitor.
Having a direct access barrister, however, is not free and can also cost a significant amount of money. A final alternative is to take a McKenzie Friend with you to court. A McKenzie friend is not usually a legally trained person. It is effectively someone who accompanies you to court. It is for anyone who is unrepresented by a barrister or a solicitor. They are there to sit with you at court, help you take notes and generally offer you a helping hand on the day. They are not there to give advice, but they will be able to help you find your way around court and be some additional support for you. Often McKenzie Friends themselves have had to represent themselves at court and want to lend a helping hand to others going through a similar situation.
If you feel that this may be something that could assist you, then please do contact us and we will be able to point you in the right direction to find out more about McKenzie Friends.
Having obtained her A Levels from the Royal Latin School in Buckingham, Rebecca Stewart went on to obtain a Legal Secretary Diploma through Pitmans Training and immediately following qualification secured a role at Hawkins Family Law. Following that she discovered her true ambition lay in becoming a Legal Executive specialising in Family Law.In 2012 Rebecca enrolled at Cilex Law School and by 2015 had completed all her level 3 exams, achieving distinctions in 3 of these modules, and is now an Associate Member of Cilex. Rebecca is now working towards her level 6 qualifications and is now able to act as a trainee Legal Executive under the supervision of the Directors of Hawkins Family Law.
Hawkins Family Law fields 'a very professional team that delivers a high-class service and has strength-in-depth from senior to junior level'. Managing director and team head Jo Hawkins provides 'clear and accurate advice and moral support through often testing times for her clients; she focuses on deriving the best long-term outcome for her client and other parties'. The practice has particular strength financial matters, including divorce and ToLATA proceedings. Other key figures include Loraine Davenport, who has strong collaborative law expertise and handles complex children cases and high-net-worth ancillary relief matters; Annabel Hayward, who focuses on complex financial provision and co-habitation matters; and Stacey St Clair.
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What the team is known for
Boutique family law firm that punches above its weight in terms of high-value and complex matrimonial finance instructions relating to business assets, pensions and substantial property portfolios, including assisting with the handling of assets abroad. Also represents clients in the negotiation of wealth protection agreements and private law childcare arrangements. Fields a team trained in collaborative law and alternative dispute resolution.
An impressed client says: "The team's personal service and individual care is a great asset,"adding that the lawyers are "always available to assist and understand the occasional need for immediate advice and guidance, providing a very reassuring service."
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