Supreme Court sets unbundled services criteria for family cases

first_imgSupreme Court sets unbundled services criteria for family cases December 1, 2003 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Supreme Court sets unbundled services criteria for family cases Senior Editor Beginning January 1, family law lawyers may offer limited assistance to pro se litigants in family law cases, following Florida Supreme Court approval of amendments to Bar and family law rules.Acting November 13, in Amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure (Unbundled Legal Services), case no. SC02-2035, the court approved the recommendations from the Bar’s Unbundled Legal Services Special Committee II, with some changes.The amendments allow lawyers to accept representation for discrete tasks in a family law representation — such as handling a hearing or drafting a specific document — without assuming responsibility for the entire case.“The ultimate result is going to encourage people to use the services of legal counsel. It will make them less intimidated about the cost,” said Hollywood attorney Adele Stone, who chaired the special committee. “It was certainly encouraged by the judiciary and the court, and it will give greater access to justice, which is encouraged and supported by the Bar.“I definitely look forward to seeing the implementation of this rule. I think it will benefit all concerned, the litigants and the judiciary.”“We’re extremely pleased. We felt this rule has been necessary,” said Richard West, chair of the Family Law Section. “This will be a benefit not only to pro se litigants but also attorneys, particularly young attorneys, because it will help get lawyers involved again in divorce cases.”West noted that the opinion cited studies that show 65 percent of initial filings in domestic relations cases have self-represented litigants and 80 percent of post-judgment proceedings have at least one party unrepresented. “Those of us who practice in this area of law know it is bogging down the system,” he said, adding that getting lawyers involved “will be a benefit to all.”The opinion assigned two tasks to the Bar: Prepare a brochure explaining to lawyers and litigants how unbundled representation will work and prepare a standard form attorneys can have clients sign when they want less than the lawyer’s full services in a case.The court also asked the special committee to monitor how the new rules work in the next two years, and recommend any changes that may be needed.“We emphasize that the goal. . . is to increase access to justice for those litigants unable to afford full representation on all portions of their case,” Justice Barbara Pariente wrote for a unanimous court. “Our intent in adopting the rule is to allow an attorney to engage in limited representation on a discrete substantive task, such as child custody, child support, alimony, or equitable distribution, or to appear for a specific hearing, such as a hearing on a motion for attorneys’ fees. If the rule functions as we envision by allowing limited representation on portions of a case in which a litigant would otherwise be unrepresented, we are cautiously optimistic that justice will be facilitated and not frustrated. This is especially so if the discrete substantive task for which the representation is undertaken involves a particularly intricate or complex family law issue.”The court recognized there can be problems with providing unbundled services. The opinion spelled out several scenarios and how those should be handled. Those include:• It is not necessary for a court to hear from both the lawyer and the party on an item the lawyer has been hired to handle.• When a litigant has hired several lawyers, only one should speak on an issue “so that the other side is not ‘double-teamed.’”• An attorney should not be retained solely to make evidentiary objections for the litigant. “We are concerned that if the rule were construed to permit such a scenario, there would be no clear division between those portions of the case for which the attorney is responsible and those for which the litigant is responsible,” Pariente wrote.• All parties must receive proper notice of hearings, including both the litigant and the attorney providing limited services. To facilitate that, the court agreed with a suggestion from 17th Circuit Judge Linda Vitale that the lawyer’s and litigant’s address and phone number be on all pleadings, hearing notices, and notices of limited appearance. The attorney hired for a limited purpose has the responsibility of notifying the opposing side that a hearing or other matter is outside the scope of the contracted representation.• Both the attorney and client should be served with all pleadings in the case.The court said attorneys will have special responsibilities when entering into limited representation agreements. That includes that lawyers must take care to explain the scope of their services to clients and all such agreements must be in writing.“[T]he attorney should advise the litigant that the attorney’s ethical obligations only extend to the representation for which the attorney was retained,” Pariente wrote. “The attorney does not have an ethical obligation to the client on other discrete portions of the litigant’s case.”For example, the opinion said, if the attorney is hired to present one issue at a hearing, the attorney will not interject himself or herself into another issue that is being dealt with by the client, even if the attorney feels there is a better way to handle that matter. Also, if during the representation the client decides the attorney should take over another portion of the case, a second consent form must be signed spelling out the expanded scope of the representation.The court approved the special committee’s recommendation to amend Bar rules 4-1.2, Scope of Representation, 4-4.2, Communication with Persons Represented by Counsel, and 4-4.3, dealing with unrepresented persons. The court also approved the committee’s suggested new Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.040, which outlines how unbundled services will work. That includes when an attorney is finished handling a limited part of a case, the attorney must file a notice of “Termination of Limited Appearance” with the court. The judge’s permission is not necessary to end the representation.The court, on its own motion, also amended Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.060 and Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.360 to conform with the new unbundled services rules.Pariente noted the groundbreaking nature of the amendments, writing that five other states have such rules and California earlier this year began implementing rules for unbundled services.The issue has surfaced in Bar and court studies for several years, and in 1999, the court’s Family Court Steering Committee recommended a rule be drafted to provide structure for limiting services. Former Chief Justice Major B. Harding followed up by creating the Access to Justice Task Force (chaired by Pariente), which as part of its recommendations said the Bar should undertake a review of unbundled services. A Bar committee recommended that unbundled services be encouraged, and the court determined that another Bar committee should draft the rules.That led to the Unbundled Legal Services Special Committee II, which submitted a report and suggested rules to the court last year. The court advertised the rules in the September 1, 2002, and November 1, 2002 Bar News and considered comments in reaching its final opinion.While the court is hopeful the unbundled rule will help both litigants and the courts, Pariente wrote, “It remains to be seen how a rule authorizing an attorney and a litigant to argue different portions of a case will operate in the courtroom. Further, the rule does not encompass all the possible scenarios of limited representation. In light of these concerns. . . we direct the committee to monitor the implementation of the rule and any difficulties that arise, and report back to this court within two years from the effective date of these amendments with recommendations for improvement or changes, if any.”The complete opinion can be found on the Supreme Court’s Web site at www.flcourts.org.last_img read more


Breeze in for gorgeous bayside lifestyle

first_imgThe backyard and gardens are low maintenance.The downstairs living area opens through sliding doors to the back deck, which looks out over the fully-fenced, low-maintenance back yard and gardens. The double lockup garage has a built-in workshop area and the property comes with a water tank and solar panels, which provide a rebate each quarter. Mr Davidson said: “All the neighbours get on. They all talk to each other and look out for each other.”The property is being marketed by Margaret Vote and Chris Vote of Raine & Horne Wynnum Manly for offers over $799,000. The home at 18 Cobar St, Lota.ENJOY sea breezes and ocean glimpses from this two-storey bayside home. The property at 18 Cobar St, Lota, has four bedrooms and multiple indoor and outdoor living spaces. Owner Michael Davidson bought the home eight years ago when it was just 12 months old. “I liked the layout of the home and how big the master bedroom was with a full walk-through wardrobe,” he said. “Though I’d have to say my favourite part of the home is the north-facing front deck.“We always eat out on the front deck and we’ve got lovely breezes and slight water views.” The home is set up with the master bedroom and main living areas on the top floor. More from newsCrowd expected as mega estate goes under the hammer7 Aug 2020Hard work, resourcefulness and $17k bring old Ipswich home back to life20 Apr 2020The dining and living area at 18 Cobar St, Lota.Internal stairs lead to the open-plan living, dining and kitchen area, which flows out through bi-fold doors to the front deck. The modern kitchen has stainless steel appliances, slide-out pantry, a breakfast bar and white cabinetry, while timber floors feature throughout the upstairs living space. The master bedroom has a walk-through wardrobe with his and hers doors, and an ensuite with bath, shower, dual basins and a separate toilet. Downstairs there are three more bedrooms with built-in wardrobes, a laundry with extra storage, a toilet and a second bathroom with separate bath and shower. last_img read more


Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says young player has a lot to learn

first_imgMauricio Pochettino admits Dele Alli still has a lot to learn after the England international appeared to kick out at an opponent during Tottenham’s Europa League draw at Fiorentina.The 19-year-old was cautioned on the half-hour mark of the 1-1 last-32 first-leg stalemate at the Stadio Artemio Franchi after Nenad Tomovic reacted angrily following a foul from Alli.Replays appeared to show the Spurs man made no effort to jump clear of the defender and instead caught him with a boot.The home players were further incensed when Tottenham were awarded a soft penalty shortly afterwards as Ben Davies went down under minimal contact from Tomovic, with Nacer Chadli stroking home the penalty.Fiorentina earned a draw courtesy of a deflected second-half strike from Federico Bernardeschi and the hosts actually finished the game strongly.Alli kept his place in the Spurs team despite Pochettino making six changes from Sunday’s 2-1 win at Manchester City and, although he was once again the pick of the bunch, it is not the first time the former MK Dons man has courted controversy.Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew accused Alli of stamping on Yohan Cabaye in Tottenham’s 3-1 win over the Eagles in January.And now Pochettino has said he will talk to Alli about that side of his game.“We need to look at the video and try to teach him,” he said.“He is a young player and he has a lot to learn about elite football. It is his first season in the Premier League at Tottenham.“He came from League One, he needs to learn a lot, still learn. But I didn’t see (the incident). Some people say ‘yes’, say ‘no’, so I don’t know.”Pochettino had insisted leading into the contest that he was still taking the Europa League seriously despite now being one of the favourites to claim the Premier League crown.He may have changed over half of his side for the trip to Florence, but he maintains that is a necessity if Spurs are to challenge on three fronts – with an FA Cup fifth-round tie at home to Palace next up on Sunday.“It is important to play with the squad,” he said.“We have a strong squad to try to fight for every competition, we need to use all of the squad. I am happy with all of the players.“Six changes from the City game and I’m happy, it is not important to talk about using the squad. It is important how we compete, we have big motivation.” Dele Alli 1last_img read more


DDTV – MOYA BRENNAN SINGS THE PRAISES OF THE GATHERING

first_imgCLICK TO PLAYMoya Brennan is the latest edition to the growing list of ambassadors for the Donegal Gathering. “I am really pleased to be part of the Gathering; I am not shy when talking about Donegal when I am on stage. The sound that Clannad has created has come from the mountains and the valleys and the Glens in Donegal.”Moya performed at the launch of Donegal Gathering which was streamed live across the globe and directly connected our Diaspora with their friends and family at home.That seminal moment was a classic example of contemporary modernity and traditional culture reaching out, hand in glove, to our people across the world. Moya has always been an exemplary ambassador for Donegal and has never forgotten her roots regardless of where her fame has taken her on tour. Indeed, we say on tour because her home has always remained in Donegal.On that memorable night, Moya stressed how we must all be ambassadors when abroad. And now, we are proud to announce Moya as our newest ambassador.Why not click on to www.donegalgathering.com to watch her speak of her pride in Donegal and how her music has always been inspired by her native county, as she joins our continuing list of renowned Donegal ambassadors.So, like Moya, let’s all play our part in making 2013 a record year for visitor numbers to Donegal by letting friends and family know about the exciting times ahead. DDTV – MOYA BRENNAN SINGS THE PRAISES OF THE GATHERING was last modified: October 15th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Moya BrennanThe Gatheringlast_img read more