How social media can affect your legal situation

In the 21st century, social media has evolved into a fundamental pillar of communication. It has revolutionised the way we do business, the way we find and share information and the way we engage with friends and family. Not surprisingly, social media is now also recognised as having an impact on the outcome of legal proceedings.

Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.  These technologies or platforms take on many different forms and can include Internet forums, blogs, social networks, podcasts, video search engines and more.

Many agree that social media has played a vital role in allowing the democratisation of the internet. But despite these advantages, online social media also presents a unique set of challenges for the legal profession. Social media can significantly impact decisions made in a courtroom.

Generally, any postings online should be considered the same as email or text messages. Social media evidence can include photographs, status updates, people’s location at a certain time and direct communications to a person’s social media accounts.  This information can be used as evidence in court.  For example, in family law cases, derogatory comments posted about your ex-partner in custody cases, can be tendered in court to reveal your attitude and true feelings about the other person and used to contradict your sworn evidence.

Social media is impacting many areas of the law from workplace relations to defamation cases. It is a lawyer’s responsibility to understand what these impacts are in order to be able to provide a comprehensive service to their clients.

Rostron Carlyle’s team of experienced family lawyers can advise you on your social media rights and responsibilities. They combine years of experience with a genuine passion for helping protect the rights of their clients. For more information about how social media can impact the outcome of your family law case, contact them today on (07) 3009 8444.

How to help your family lawyer

Family LawyerFamily legal proceedings can be complicated enough without back and forth communication with your lawyer. You are entitled to high standards of legal advice and your solicitor must act in accordance with a range of legal duties in order to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. At the same time, a successful solicitor/client relationship requires cooperation on both sides. In order to provide quality legal representation, your solicitor needs access to certain information relevant to your claim.

In order to get the most out of your family lawyer, here are a few things you can do:

Have an open disclosure policy

When it comes to your legal interests, your family lawyer is your most valuable resource. But in order to be effective, your family law solicitor needs all the information relevant to your claim. Even facts which may not seem important to you may have significant legal consequences. For this reason, it is best to adopt an open disclosure policy from the start. It is a solicitor’s duty to maintain the strictest client confidentiality so you need not feel embarrassed or afraid to reveal facts that may be unfavourable. Being open and honest with your family lawyer is the best way to achieve the outcome you desire.

Prepare your relevant documents

Before you contact your solicitor, it is a good idea to collect all information that may be relevant to your case. Start by writing down a brief summary of the issue, including any events that may have lead up to the claim. It is also wise to include the contact details of any persons involved, as well as any specific questions you have for your lawyer. Finally, you will need to collect all relevant documentation to show to your family law solicitor. This may include documents such as birth certificates, marriage licences, bank account details, police reports or divorce papers. Being prepared will save your solicitor’s time and help to reduce your costs.

Follow instructions quickly and carefully

In order to achieve the best possible outcome for your case, you need to follow your lawyer’s instructions quickly and carefully. If your solicitor requests more information or requires further documentation, make sure you provide it to them in a timely fashion. If you can’t keep track of your lawyer’s instructions, ask for a checklist that details what you need to provide and when.

Understand the costs

Solicitors are required by law to tell you about the expenses that may be relevant to your case. This is known as the duty of disclosure. But just as your solicitor has a duty to disclose all fees, as the client you have a duty to promptly pay a fair and reasonable price for those legal services provided. If you fail to pay, your solicitor can withdraw from your case.

Ask questions

The law is complex and you are not expected to understand everything. You should sign any documents until you fully understand what it is about. If you are confused or have any questions, ask your solicitor for an explanation as soon as possible. This will limit misunderstandings and ensure you and your solicitor are working towards the same goal.

Keep in contact

Legal issues can take a long time to resolve. Your solicitor should keep you up to date with the progress of your case but it is also your responsibility to inform your solicitor immediately if your personal circumstances change. The best way to maintain open lines of communication with your lawyer is to agree on the frequency and method of your correspondence.  For example; some may wish to exchange a fortnightly email while others may prefer a monthly phone call.

Trust your solicitor

Your solicitor is there to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome is achieved. In order to do this you must trust that your lawyer has your best interests in mind. Take the time to do your research and choose your family solicitor carefully. A good family lawyer combines years of experience with a genuine passion for helping protect the rights of their clients.

Rostron Carlyle’s team of experienced family layers can help you achieve the outcome you desire. For more information about securing legal representation, or to discuss the documents you may be required to provide, contact them today on (07) 3009 8444.