I know that in some circumstances no means no, and we should accept that.

However, in other situations, you don’t have to take no for an answer.

My children were always good at that.

No, you can’t have chocolate for dinner didn’t mean that they couldn’t still have chocolate for dessert if they ate everything else first.

No you can’t stay up late didn’t mean that they couldn’t still get a few extra minutes (even if it was just whilst we argued about it).

Most importantly, no you can’t invite any more people to your birthday, when it turned out that he’d already invited them and five extra children that I wasn’t expecting turned up!  Fortunately as a Jewish mother, I had considerably over catered and there was enough extra food for 10 more people, but that wasn’t quite the point!

Not taking no for an answer is a good life lesson generally, but it is particularly relevant in law.

We all know that if you lose in Court, you can always consider an appeal.  If the other side lose, they can appeal too.  Appeals are not that common (only around 5% of the cases I’ve done have gone to appeal – and I’ve won all but one of them!) and can only proceed in certain circumstances, but it’s always an option worth looking at.

But even before you’ve gone anywhere near a court, you should always consider ways round the word no.  In a recent case I was working on, the other side wanted disclosure of documents that I said they were not entitled to.  They threatened me with court action.  I said no.  So, they had a go at getting the ICO to investigate.  Fortunately for me (and my client) the ICO agreed with me, but it’s a good example, of considering and trying all of your options before you give up.   If the ICO had been on their side, it certainly would have been a much more cost effective option than court proceedings, so I respect them for trying to avoid running up costs for either side unnecessarily.

There plenty of other routes to consider.  You can make complaints to ombudsmen, trading standards and regulatory bodies to name but a few.  I’ve seen clients have great success with emailing senior directors and even the whole board on one occasion.  One client I acted for ran call centres.  He’s bought a corporate package from the then newly built Wembley Stadium at great expense, but then got very poor service and no one was available to speak to him.  One afternoon, when he was particularly frustrated at the lack of response, he instructed everyone in the call centre to ring Wembley’s help line.  200 + operators calling constantly blocking their lines and making complaints, until eventually someone took his call.  I know that few of us have access to those kinds of resources, but it’s a good example of ways in which to get someone’s attention without having to rush off to a Judge.

You may think it’s strange for a solicitor to be suggesting things that would help you avoid needing a solicitor, but with court costs going up, and backlogs constantly increasing, if you are going to take legal advice, at least make sure you’ve considered all the alternatives before you go to court.  It could even mean that you get a better outcome, if you can demonstrate to a Judge that you really did explore every avenue before you sued.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  There are always choices and options!