Can my lawyer withdraw from my matter?
Your lawyer may withdraw from your matter provided that either they have your consent or have a reason to do so, that accords with the Legal Profession Uniform Law Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules 2015.
Lawyers take carriage of clients’ matters in order to help facilitate the legal process for that client. To formalise this arrangement, lawyers often require their clients agree to a costs agreement, which outlines the fees and charges that will be used to invoice the client for the work completed by the lawyer. This step “retains” the lawyer for the client.
If the matter is already in Court, for the lawyer to withdraw from a client’s matter, they must file a “Notice of Intention to Withdraw/Cease to Act” with the client and the Courts. Once this is filed correctly, the lawyer will then issue a copy of this document to the client along with a “Notice of Address for Service” form for the client to fill out and return to the Courts.
The lawyer must then wait 7 days before withdrawing. This gives the client enough time to pay outstanding invoices, to make contact with their lawyer to discuss options to retain the lawyer’s services or to make further arrangements with another lawyer.
How to minimise the risk that your lawyer will withdraw from your matter
Here are six ways to help minimise the risk of having your lawyer withdraw from your matter:
- Understand your obligations outlined in your cost agreement
- Pay your invoices on time
- Frequently update your lawyer on new and changing circumstances within your matter
- Responding to your lawyers’ requests for documents and/or information when requested can assist your lawyer in preparing your matter diligently
- Ask questions if you are unsure about information you have been provided. This will reduce confusion and delay
- Lawyers understand that this time in your life is exceptionally stressful; however abuse of any nature is likely to result in the immediate withdrawal from your matter.
Most lawyers want to get you the best possible outcome. They enjoy working with their clients, and building a strong rapport with them over time.
Working with your lawyer will help to move your matter along smoothly, in order to get you the best outcome possible.
If you need help with your family law matter, please contact our firm today for a confidential discussion.
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