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Family law solicitors, and the cost of justice

  • 19-11-2021 12:42am
    Posts: 0

    First, is there a reason why none of the family law solicitor firms I emailed inquiring about having a paid consultation replied? I expect it's because I asked the cost of an initial meeting? Or they're just busy? Or I told them my occupation (a run-of-the mill professional job)? Or I simply could not give a single name for somebody who recommended them? I phoned one and was told she's not taking on new clients. A second one said the same, but revealingly added that she felt her fees would be too much for me. But no answer from any email inquiry. Others I rang up and they said they'd get somebody to ring me but never did. There doesn't appear to be many specialised family law solicitors at all - are they all just so busy you need to be earning above a certain amount with loads of assets before they'll even meet you? There's a cpnspicuous number of firms describing themselves as 'boutique" and promising to protect assets. Some of their websites are cringeworthy in their legal parasite aspirations.

    Then I decided to not say my job and not ask the price and talk about booking an appointment. After we had made the appointment I was told the fee would be €250 plus VAT for the initial meeting - €307 of my after-tax income (i.e. I have to earn c. €600 to get that) - and that it had to be paid in cash/no cards accepted. Yes, I'm sure they'll declare that to the Revenue... Is that the going rate?

    And it gets better, if I can't find the money to fund the entire case - which could be any price, of course! - I can apply for Legal Aid. The wait for the initial meeting in my local LAB office is... five months. That's the initial meeting, and their own publicised waiting times ( For most people, it seems to take years of pain to finalise their family law case going the LAB route, with family law specialist solicitors few and far between to defend your interests (and the poorer you are, the worse they treat you if any of the online reviews are even partially true).

    So much for the law holding all persons "equal before the law", when it requires all these financial bribes - that would be "legal fees" in the parlance - one must pay just to get into the winners' enclosure of the courtroom in the first place. The more you pay, the more justice you'll get. As somebody who has never had to deal with a solicitor other than buying a house, how naive I've been until now. It's an outrage that citizens are being denied a whole raft of human, civil and political rights - starting with Article 40 of Bunreacht na hÉireann - by this two-track family law system which gives more rights, and faster, in the courts of this republic to people who pay more money. "Legal reform" is not some abstract concept. In family law in particular its absence has huge consequences for all sorts of lives. But still these closed-shop parasites are allowed carry on their closed-shop businesses without state intervention, and the rest of society suffers.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12 jonniepster

    I am trying to get divorced and my solicitor has decided to come off record. Leaving me in a mental position paying my ex wife more than she needs or wants in fact - she said as much given all I pay for my child.

    Then they try lump me after the fact with an extra 15k bill - out if the blue.

    I too would struggle to qualify for legal aid, however don't have any more money to put into this thing given all of my expenses.

    After the maintenance hearing in December my solicitor said well you need to pay this otherwise you could go to prison. And my ex lied in court and pays nothing for my son.

    Equality. Yeah right.

    I'll try advise you and give you my experience but not sure it will help.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,842 ✭✭✭mountain


    what part of the country are you in?

    I tried 3 different solicitors before settling on one, outside of the price it’s imho important to like them too,

    of the 3 I tried, first charged 100 for consultation, 2nd 200 and the 3rd, there was no initial charge.

    I ended up going with the 3rd, because of their positive attitude.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12 jonniepster

    Yeah fully agree. No problem with solicitor in the early days and it was only when it came to the crunch and they really asked nothing of the other side and allowed lies in court to be uncontested, when my entire life was pulled apart. Shocking really.

    I hope your situation goes much better but beware and make sure they itemise what they are going to charge and agree with you before going further

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,300 ✭✭✭Bits_n_Bobs

    Zero political will to reform it - even the Troika couldn't push through any meaningful reform ...

    Be a cold day in hell before anyone tackles that particular Irish cabal. And it is a case of justice denied for a huge swathe of ordinary Irish citizens

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,300 ✭✭✭Bits_n_Bobs

    Zero political will to reform it - even the Troika couldn't push through any meaningful reform ...

    Be a cold day in hell before anyone tackles that particular Irish cabal. And it is a case of justice denied for a huge swathe of ordinary Irish citizens

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    if it was lucrative, you'd see more people practicing as family law solicitors.

    Most solicitors I know don't want to work in the area. Ime, and from what I've heard, people find it too mentally draining to work in.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,300 ✭✭✭Bits_n_Bobs

    So the appalling lack of reform in the legal profession has resulted in a vital service for citizens not being 'lucrative' enough for the same profession to provide the service...

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    people don't want to pay for legal advice in this area seems to be the opinion of most solicitors i've talked to about it.

    It's also a depressing area to work in. Why would anyone choose to work in a badly paid, depressing work if they had other options? I know some solicitors who love it but not many.

    The Law Society have been looking for reform in the area for years, afaik.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,300 ✭✭✭Bits_n_Bobs

    Love conjecture:)

    You are also missing the point. Nobody wants to pay, however a lot of people can't afford to pay, see op.

    AFAIK closed shops such as the law society pay lip service to reform. Please point me to any meaningful reform of the legal profession over the last ten years to back up your point