Quite possibly one of the saddest elements of the widely publicised case of Alfie Evans, is the involvement of third parties during the latter stages of the legal process. In this blog we discuss some of the difficulties that can arise when relying on non-regulated representatives.
Please note: this post does not intend to go into the details of the Alfie Evans case. Please see our blog: Who Decides When Parents and Doctors Disagree? for fuller discussion of the underlying legal issues of that case. This post deals exclusively with the involvement of non-regulated representatives in the court process.
Quite possibly one of the saddest elements of the widely publicised case of Alfie Evans, is the involvement of third parties during the latter stages of the legal process. Many political and religious figures wanted to become involved in the case, all pushing one agenda or another.
As family law solicitors, we know first-hand the damage that can be done when people in desperate situations find themselves relying on unregulated advisors. This could be a well-meaning friend or family member, or someone who holds themselves out as a ‘legal executive’ or ‘legal advisor’, which in reality do not really mean anything.
It can be tempting to rely on cheaper, unregulated advisors to help navigate you through a difficult time.
Today, when legal-aid is harder to come by and legal fees can seem unmanageable, it can be tempting to rely on cheaper, unregulated advisors to help navigate you through a difficult time. This should be avoided at all costs, and you should ensure that the only person you listen to is your advisor who should hold themselves out to be a ‘solicitor’. You can check the status of solicitors at www.lawscot.org.uk
The Alfie Evans case is the latest stark reminder of how important it is to ensure that those representing you are qualified and regulated solicitors. In this case, the parents of Alfie Evans were offered the support of the Christian Legal Centre, an arm of an American pro-life campaign group who claim to “provide legal assistance to Christians who believe their religious freedoms are being infringed”. The CLC began their involvement by supplying Mr and Mrs Evans with the services of Pavel Stroilov, a Russian-born law student who was neither qualified nor regulated.
His involvement in the case drew significant criticism from the court, who described him as a “fanatical and deluded young man” whose legal advice was “inconsistent with the real interests of the parents’ case” and who did “more harm than good” to their case.
It has now emerged that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is reviewing the Christian Legal Centre’s role in the high-profile life-support battle.
The case serves as a stark reminder to everyone embarking on a legal process to only listen to advice given to you from a regulated, qualified solicitor. To listen to well-meaning bystanders only opens you up to incorrect advice, with no protection from a regulator such as the Law Society in the background.
If you need a family law solicitor, we offer initial fixed fee appointments with one of our family law specialists.