An article very down to earth with a title that befits its content.
You are facing a legal problem that can take many forms (possibility to check several boxes):
- you are married or in concubinage and parents and you disagree with your good half for the "custody" of children and the amount of alimony
- you have a problem with your ISP or mobile carrier
- you have not paid your last two months of rent, your landlord begins to fulminate maliciously and threatens you with an eviction
- you have been arrested by the police in possession of cannabis resin (just for your personal consumption, huh!)
- your employer leads you hard, you do not stop to do unpaid hours, he also has, without asking your opinion, lowered your pay, and seems ready to fire you because that he does not support you anymore
- your neighbor refuses to prune a tree that is very close to the boundary between your two fields and this one causes you a significant loss of sunshine
- your house has defects and you want to blame the builder and the former owner
Do these different situations require the intervention of a lawyer or not? How do you know when you know nothing about it in law?
First revelation: the lawyer can intervene in any conflict situation, which is the case in all the examples above. Sometimes it can also intervene in non-conflict situations but for which a court order must be made to create a new legal situation (eg divorce by mutual consent or adoption).
The role of the lawyer is to advise the person who comes to consult on his rights in relation to the facts that it relates to him and that he is able to prove. The proof is indeed the nerve center of the legal action. To be right is good, to be able to prove it, it's better. The lawyer must determine what the client wants and see if it is possible to achieve the goal sought by the latter and what means must be implemented to achieve it.
It is important to keep in mind that in order to have the most effective intervention of the lawyer, it must be understood at the onset of the conflict situation. As I often say, the more we intervene late, the more likely the client will make mistakes that may prevent them from achieving their intended purpose.
In theory, the lawyer is therefore indispensable. But in practice, should there be automatic recourse as soon as a problem occurs?
And in practice, the problem is that the lawyer is not free and it is better to think twice before applying. This is all the more true as the lawyer is entitled to charge the client any time spent on his file. This is the case, for example, of the simple request for legal information on a particular case by telephone. So do not be surprised that lawyers are not big talkers on the phone.
Contrary to a persistent false rumor, the first consultation with a lawyer is not, in principle, free. If the latter listens to you and delivers you legal information, he is entitled to claim a fee for the service he has provided.
The only information that a lawyer has to give to his interlocutor free of charge relates to the fixing of his fees (his hourly rate, the fees usually charged for "standard" procedures, the fact that he accepts or refuses aid files. jurisdictional …).
Knowing that the hourly rate of a lawyer is, as a rule, between 100 and 300 euros, the bill can quickly be salted for the client.
Thus, the first evidence is that it is unattractive to have a lawyer for a small dispute (less than 1000 euros) or a small offense. It is better, in this case, try to fend for yourself. But the use of the lawyer is still possible, especially to reassure and support, in his approach, the litigant.
The intervention of the lawyer, in this type of litigation, also makes it possible to show to the opposite party that one takes things seriously, which risks, either to harden the conflict, or to solve it, the opposite party does not not wishing to inflame the situation (and also have to resort to an expensive lawyer on his side).
It is possible for small consumer law cases to blame consumer advocacy groups for advice and support.
There are also certain disputes in which our role is limited to mediating between our client and the other party in order to arrive at a solution that satisfies everyone. Generally, these are cases where we treat more the fact that the law, that is to say that our role is often limited to gathering documents and to take stock with our client on his family, financial and professional situation in order to lead, at the hearing, the Judge to adopt rather our point of view than that of the adversary.
Where our intervention is really necessary, it is in all disputes that require a good knowledge of the law and the judicial procedure to obtain the result expected by the litigant. Some of these procedures require legal representation. This is the case as I have already explained before the Tribunal de Grande Instance. The problem does not arise, the litigant having anyway no choice.
For other procedures, legal representation is not mandatory. The litigant can then try to do without it but at the cost of certain efforts since he will himself have to seek the legal information he needs, write his conclusions (if necessary), mount his pleadings and ensure his own defense before the court with the very important risk that being layman in the matter, he makes some mistakes that can totally destroy his chances of success.
It is in this latter case that the question of whether or not to use the lawyer will generally be seriously raised. The litigant will have to balance the cost of the professional with the increase in the probability of winning and in this case, to obtain more through his intervention.