2023 Round Up
Posted on 31st December 2023
As 2023 staggers towards an end…
It seems appropriate to round off the year with some commentary about what we have been up to and what our arenas are doing. For the clients who have finished their case and do not need us anymore, we say good luck and hope life is fair to you going forward. For clients who have joined us this year, you have our promise that we will do our very best to support you and help you.
We have attended 206 hearings this year and spent approximately 650 hours in Family Court.
We have covered almost 100,000 miles to attend those hearings.
We have written 178 statements, position statements, witness statements and/or statements to support an application.
We have held 168 counselling sessions predominantly in the relationship counselling arena.
We have taken phone calls on every day of the week and at almost every hour on the 24 hour clock.
We have listened, for countless hours, we have listened and then we have made it our mission to help.
Let’s tackle the elephant in the room. Occasionally, you may feel frustrated that we are slow in getting back to you or progress is slow. Let us try and explain. The Family Court is slow, in fact very slow. The Court infrastructure is weighed down with far too many cases for the actual capacity available. The result is cases are taking months and often years to be concluded.
The second issue in the buckling court system is that the available staff are so overworked that they are making mistakes, lots of mistakes. Matters are lying gathering dust because the court has forgotten to allocate the next hearing date. Then having allocated the hearing date, they forget to tell the people who are supposed to attend the hearing and hearings have to be adjourned through non-attendance.
We have one client who waited 18 months from the date of his application to the first hearing because of mistakes by the court. 18 months is a long time. 18 months when you do not see your children for a single moment is an extremely long time.
The other reality we want to share with you is caseload. We estimate that we are dealing with twice as many cases as a solicitors firm of the same size.
We are doing that because we have to do that to make the economics work. McKenzie Picave is a functioning business with costs – rent, utilities, insurance, salaries and so on.
We charge about half of what an average solicitors charges and so we need to do twice the work to generate the same revenue. Does that make sense?
So, the trade off is we keep ourselves reasonably priced so we are accessible to as many people as possible and we ask our clients to accept that occasionally, we may take a little while to respond BUT we NEVER miss a deadline.
The best interests of our clients is our primary objective but we must prioritise as we need to in order to make sure that we are hitting the mark on every case.
Someone, somewhere thinks we are doing a good job as we have been given the following awards this year –
Leading Providers of Family Law Services, Leicestershire, 2023 in the UK Enterprise Awards
Best Family Law Firm, East Midlands, 2023 in the AI Legal Service Excellence Awards
Customer Service Masters, 2023 in the BSUMA Awards
Business Leader & Inspiration, 2023 in the BSUMA Awards given to Daniel Picave
BARRISTERS AS PARTNERS:
Often, we find ourselves in proceedings where we arrive at a conclusion that a barrister would assist in securing the outcome we want. We have worked with Direct Access Counsel (barristers) for years and it has always been a bit of a lottery when it comes to whose services we can secure. We decided this was not satisfactory for us or our clients, so we went about creating a situation which removes the chance.
We now have a chambers that we work with in preference to working with anyone else. What are the benefits of that?:
We can guarantee access to a barrister when we need one
We will be working with a barrister that we know and so working together is smooth and effective
We are only too conscious of the fees of barristers and so we will only ever suggest one where we believe the investment is justified.
We have always believed as a business that we should support charity and community projects whenever we can. It allows us to settle our social conscience. We are consistent in keeping our support to issues of domestic abuse, child abuse, homelessness and poverty.
This year we have made cash, product and time donations to Refuge, Crisis, The Zinthiya Trust [Leicester] and Falcon Support Services [Loughborough].
Daniel has chosen to provide his personal time and/or financial support to the children with disabilities football teams at Aston Villa FC, an unnamed woman’s refuge in the West Midlands, Prostate Cancer UK and The Royal British Legion.
He has also worked with a number of clients on a pro-bono basis where no fees are charged for his experience or input. This is a choice he chooses to make as he does not view the payment of fees as an entry barrier to working with someone who genuinely needs us.
THE FAMILY COURT
The environment becomes more and more challenging every year. It is adversarial, brutal and sadly not as fair and just as it should be. Decisions are made which are the right decisions. Decisions are made which are the wrong ones. Occasionally, decisions are made which beggar belief.
Early in the new year, we have a new broadcast coming out on our YouTube channel talking about factfinding hearings and how, in our experience, they can be the most dangerous and destructive part of a family proceedings. Look out for that.
We will continue to present ourselves in family court alongside our clients. We will continue to seek to influence the proceedings to support the best interests of our clients and the children involved. We will continue to seek to pursue a path of reason and equity until the other side launch an unprovoked or baseless attack when we will reply robustly.
You can find us on Instagram and YouTube by searching McKenzie Picave. We would be delighted if you would like our broadcasts and subscribe to the channel. You can also find Daniel on LinkedIn by searching Daniel Picave.
The large majority of new clients who join us are referred to us by someone else [usually a previous client] and we are grateful for that. However, there is some comfort for someone searching the market for some legal support if they can read a positive review first.
We would be grateful if you felt you would like to leave a positive review by:
Searching for ‘McKenzie Picave’ on Google and then accessing our listing on the screen to leave your review
Visit www.ratemymckenziefriend.co.uk and answer the following questions – your name, email, telephone [optional], name of the McKenzie Friend, Court location and Feedback.
Thank you to anyone who has sent a festive gift to the office, we appreciate it. We have ensured that every member of staff gets to go home with something chocolatey. We have raffled off the alcohol and donated the money to our chosen charities [we hope you don’t mind].
It only remains for us to thank you for the faith you have placed in us during the last year. We will continue to work tirelessly to support you in whatever your circumstances are.
Sending our love and affection and wishing you a peaceful holiday period. If you are blessed to have children in your care, cherish them. If you are estranged from your children this holiday, be assured that despite whatever is happening, they love you.
Tagged as: Just For Fun
Share this post: