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Accredited paralegal practice area highlight: family law

20 May 19

The competences needed for accreditation in this practice area

by Janet Rieu-Clarke

There are currently 12 practice areas in which paralegals can become accredited. This month we take a look at family law.

Each practice area has a corresponding set of competencies which we would expect an accredited paralegal working in that area to be meeting. If you are a trainee accredited paralegal, we would expect you to meet these after one year of training. 

A paralegal should be able to progress the various stages of a simple undefended case from taking instructions through to obtaining decree. In defended actions the paralegal should be able to assist the principal solicitor in progressing actions through their various stages to a proof, including gathering information, preparing motions, and paperwork for child welfare hearings. 

Specifically, a paralegal should be competent to:  

  • draft simple separation agreements following a meeting between client, solicitor and paralegal;
  • prepare lists of assets and liabilities;
  • prepare initial writs for solicitors to revise and sign off;
  • complete simplified divorce forms for signature and draft simple undefended divorce actions;
  • prepare inventories, schedule of matrimonial property, affidavits, service of documents (all for review by the solicitor);
  • interview distressed clients;
  • take precognitions/statements from clients and/or witnesses;
  • advise clients about the legal grounds, and general procedures, for divorce;
  • arrange practical issues in relation to contact;
  • arrange mechanisms regarding payment of aliment, spousal aliment and periodical allowance.

There are currently 27 accredited paralegals in the practice area of family law, and we would love to see this number increase. 

If you are you interested in becoming accredited in this area, please contact Janet Rieu-Clarke on accreditedparalegals@lawscot.org.uk for more information.

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