Instructions

This page gives information about how you can instruct us and how we can work with you.

How to instruct us

To instruct Alternative Family Law formally, the best cause of action is to telephone briefly so we can see if your problem is within our areas of expertise (and refer you to someone else if not) and make an appointment.

You can of course email us first. If so, please always include a telephone number if possible. Please include details of when we can call you back and at what times you will not be available.

If you are abroad, or find it difficult to telephone us during office hours, please also email us.

Some people ask us to make an appointment by email. This can result in many emails going to and fro when a date and time can usually easily be agreed on the telephone if both parties have their diaries in front of them. So please call if you can.

If you are Deaf or hard of hearing you can use Text Relay (18001 020 7407 4007) or you can email us. For Deaf or the hard of hearing enquirers we can also arrange internet chat instead of a telephone call if required.

When we have made an appointment, we will send you confirmation of the appointment together with our terms of business and a client questionnaire, which you can also find here. The questionnaire is an Microsoft Word file and you should be able to complete it online, save it and email it back to us. If you are unable to use or convert the MS Word file, you can find an Adobe PDF version to print out here.

If you are instructing us for mediation services, you must not complete the client questionnaire. We will send you a different mediation information form instead.

Although it is always good to meet at the beginning of instructions, for clients who cannot come to London, we can arrange a Skype meeting long telephone conversation instead.

ID Check

When you instruct us we need to verify your ID to comply with money-laundering law. Therefore when you come to see us, please bring:

  • one photo ID, such as your passport or a photo driving licence; and
  • one address ID, such as a recent council tax or utility bill or a bank statement.

Please bring originals. We will check them and take a copy for our records as proof. If you do not have such documents, please let us know before the meeting so we can discuss suitable substitutes.

If you cannot come to London to meet us, we will still need to have your ID checked and verified. We can have this done by a lawyer in the UK or abroad as agent. If you already have a lawyer, he or she may be prepared to do so without charging you for it.

You can find an information sheet for the agent here.

The agent can find a sample text for the letter they need to send to us here.

We do not work on the basis of legal aid.

Our charges are based on the time spent on any aspect of your case and we record the time in units of 1/10 of an hour as is standard. Different people doing work on your case have different hourly rates and we will let you know full details when we take you on as a client.

We are aware that legal fees can be extremely expensive and you may need to borrow or cash in investments to be able to afford your legal fees. We also take credit cards, which might help with budgeting, although we will have to ask you to pay for the banking fees which we are charged.

Complaints

We are confident of giving our clients the highest level of service. Most problems with solicitors are as a result of misunderstandings, which can easily be put right. We therefore recommend clients contact us immediately if they think something is wrong. We hope that in most cases matters can be resolved informally. However, for the rare cases where a client feels the service has not been up to standard, they can contact us for a copy of our complaints procedure setting out how we will handle a complaint. If we cannot resolve the complaint, it can ultimately be taken to the Legal Ombudsman. This has to be done within six months of the end of our internal complaints process unless we failed to tell you the details of how you can take the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, in which case you have six years to make it. This includes complaints about a bill.

12 May 2016 by Andrea Woelke