With the Government continuously making cuts to legal funding an individual’s options to obtain accurate legal advice is limited. Many individuals do not believe they can afford a solicitor despite many firms offering free half an hour or fixed fee schemes.
As a result most individuals are looking to alternative sources to obtain the information they require. Many a times a solicitor has heard the famous words “my friend has told me that……” despite that “friend” having no legal experience. Every case has its own facts and therefore what is the position for one person can certainly be different to the next. However, whilst a lot can be said for the use of the internet and in particular the information provided on the government website many people are becoming fixated on what they see and hear on the television.
Television programmes where family disputes are discussed freely or in a Court room environment have a lot to answer for in respect of miscommunicated legal advice being provided to the public. Whilst some of the programmes may provide individuals with better knowledge in respect of the Court environment, what people must remember is that these programmes can be over glorified to attract more viewers and better ratings. They are not there to provide sound legal advice to the litigant in person.
In an attempt to improve ratings and dramatise the lives of individuals, such programmes may not promote non-confrontational approaches to family problems of which most family professionals work towards. Some programmes appear to believe that allowing individuals to swear and shout at each other is the best approach to resolving matters. This is certainly not the case and far from the reality of how family proceedings actually work.
No doubt a large proportion of the population watch soaps including Coronation Street and EastEnders. I myself enjoy the odd episode of Hollyoaks now and then. However I find it very irritating when I watch episodes and my immediate reaction is to scream at the television asking where an individual is getting their legal advice from as it is wholly inaccurate.
Individuals must therefore be very careful when watching these television programmes. Whilst they may provide exciting viewing the advice is usually overstated and may not be in line with common practices and procedures. The individual should therefore always consider consulting a solicitor in the first instance and not always rely on what they see on the television.
The Family Law Company offers free half an hour appointments where we can discuss your needs and the funding options available to you. If you require further information or advice in respect of any family matter please contact our solicitors in Exeter on 01392 421777.