I am looking for advice with regard to my solicitor deciding to cease acting for me.
I engaged a solicitor about a year ago to act for me where I had an accident. I attended a meeting with that solicitor in December of 2019 to speak about settling the case with the defendant. After attending the meeting I asked my solicitor to allow me a period to reflect on the details of the meeting, and I requested all the case paperwork the solicitor had so I could review what had transpired up to that meeting.
I followed the request for the case paperwork up two days later with a text to my solicitor where I explained that I would provide them instructions after they had sent me the paperwork they had agreed they would send me. I explained that I needed to fully understand and consider all the information, and only on this consideration could I provide them an instruction.
I subsequently received two medical reports and the legal proceedings documents from my solicitor. There was no information from the defendant, or the defendant’s solicitors. I emailed my solicitor and requested the additional paperwork I believed they must have had.
I received a number of calls from my solicitor between the day of that email and the 29thof December claiming they needed to speak to me about an urgent matter. I messaged my solicitor a few times and asked them to email me so that I could consider the details of anything they wanted to say to me, rather than me making any rash decisions that would negatively impact my case. At this time I re-requested the case paperwork and also confirmed to my solicitor that I would provide an instruction after they had sent me the paperwork they had previously agreed to send.
I received further calls and texts from my solicitor requesting a ‘chat’ to which I requested that they email me. In one of those texts my solicitor explaining that she had the documents I was looking for, and that she would provide them to me, but that she wanted to chat with me first. I asked her to email me again and repeated that I needed to consider anything they would have to say to me, and that no matter what the circumstances or content of their proposed chat, I needed them to email me.
My solicitor emailed me and explained that they had been provided an Offer of Compromise by the defendant, this figure was wholly unsatisfactory, however my solicitors letter also included a statement “based on previous instructions regarding your desired outcome of your proceedings”. I had not provided my solicitor any instruction, and I don’t accept that telling them to do nothing was an instruction. I was deeply concerned about this statement as it was patently untrue.
I wrote to my solicitor an explained my concerns, and again requested all the paperwork they agreed to provide me, referring to my previous requests, their agreements to provide me the documents, and my need to see those documents so I could make an informed decision before providing them an instruction.
That same day I received a notice of an intention to cease to act. My solicitors also said that if I did not provide them an instruction them they could not act for me.
I am deeply worried about these things. My solicitor has not provided me paperwork they agreed to send me and I feel very vulnerable. I am worried that the actions of my solicitor will materially affect the value of my claim, but I am mostly worried because I just don’t know.
When my solicitor has decided to resign or abandon me or cease to act for me, what should I do. Can they charge me? Can they withhold my paperwork?
I have read through solicitor’s responsibilities and duties from NSW law website. I am doing my best to be a good client, but I am at a loss. My solicitor is a no win no fee solicitor. I never received a fee schedule from my solicitors.
I want to be fair to my solicitor but I honestly feel they have not represented me very well at all, and I do not feel it would be fair if they used a lot of solicitory type moves to prevent me from moving forward with my case.
I was injured in public, I am 62 and may have to retire early along with a whole host of other issues. I have never claimed before. I may not be able to afford to put my kids through college. One started this year. The other was supposed to start next year. My job pay’s 80k plus overtime which I do about 35k worth a year for five years. I can’t do overtime anymore, I am too sore. I can barely use my arm for anything. I might lose my apartment because I can’t afford the mortgage.