Working with Documents? Things your Lawyer should tell you

You can spend a huge amount of money with your lawyer on providing documents to prove your case.  This is called disclosure.

You are required to provide disclosure to the other side, whether you are negotiating, mediating or involved in Family Court proceedings.

Your lawyer will tell you what documents you have to provide.  If you do not provide what you are asked to provide, or only part of it your costs can get out of hand.

Whilst it is great that your lawyer is keeping on top of what is going on, you do not need to be paying legal fees for someone to remind you to do what you have been asked to do.

For example, you will be asked to provide bank statements for at least several years for each account you have.  Usually they will be grouped into the relevant accounts and then put in order and numbered from the earliest one at the front to the newest one at the back.

If you are missing some bank statements, you will need to get copies of them.

If you don’t provide the missing copies, this is what could happen:

  1. The other lawyer writes to your lawyer to request disclosure of the missing statements.
  2. Your lawyer contacts you to ask you to provide the missing statements.
  3. You contact your lawyer to tell them that you have received the letter and that you will obtain them.
  4. You provide the statements to your lawyer and your lawyer reads them.
  5. Your lawyer updates the index of documents they hold for you to include the missing statements.
  6. Your lawyer writes a letter to the other lawyer to advise that they have received the statements and provide a copy of the updated index.
  7. The other lawyer then writes to your lawyer to request a copy of the statements.
  8. Your lawyer then writes to the other lawyer and provides an invoice for the cost of copying the statements.
  9. The other lawyer writes to provide a cheque and to confirm they want the copies.
  10. Your lawyer then writes to the other lawyer and sends the copies to them

Assuming each of the 10 steps above is billed at least one unit of your lawyer’s time – that is at least 10 units.  Depending on what your lawyer charges, this could be a $300 plus exercise, all because you missed a few bank statements.

At Leach Legal we go through the disclosure process with our clients and provide them with a list of the required disclosure.

When we prepare the index, we advise them of the items that are missing and get them to deliver them in one lot and pre-empt any requests from the other side for missing documents.

It is worth having a meeting with your lawyer just to discuss the issue of disclosure.

They should be able to explain what is required, what format they will be preparing it in and how you can assist to keep your legal costs down.