This will come as a great surprise, but people lie!
I know it was me the other day saying how people are largely nice, and I do still believe that, but no one is perfect, and occasionally (sometimes more than occasionally) people lie. They lie to save their own skin. They lie to get their own way. They lie because they can’t deal with the truth. Sometimes they don’t even realise they are lying. Some people lie so often that they actually start to believe that it’s true.
Let me give you an example.
When dealing with divorce work, it’s not uncommon for my client to say things like
“But he said he didn’t have any money and if we went to court I’d get nothing”. If that’s true, how is he affording his fancy solicitors? or
“She said if I didn’t agree to her financial demands, she’d take the kids away and I’d never see them again”. Why, where is she going to go bearing in mind all her family and friends are here?
Or my personal favourite
“He said that his solicitor said that I was definitely going to win”. The reason why that one is so funny is that no solicitor (or no good solicitor) can ever give an unequivocal answer to the question “what’s going to happen” because there are so many variables.
Sometimes the problem can be persuading the client that the other side might lie in the future. This can happen when I’m reviewing a case in it’s early stages, and I’m asked to assess the chances of success. I can only advise based on what’s in front of me. I don’t know what the other side are going to do or say. The client will often say “but there aren’t any other documents and I’ve told you the full story”. Here’s where it gets difficult, because I have to explain to the client that there is always the risk that the other side are going to lie, or falsify or create a document. I have been involved in a case where a letter was mysteriously “found” (and by found, my client believes means “created!”) at the last minute. The Judge can, of course, draw their own conclusions from case changing documents located in strange circumstances, but at the end of the day, the court will listen to both sides, and decide for themselves who is telling them the truth and there is no guarantee that they will get it right every time. If Judges were infallible, we wouldn’t need the court of appeal or the Supreme Court.
If you are likely to embark on a dispute any time soon, you might want to remember the following
Remember to take everything the other side say with a pinch of salt. They may be telling the truth, they may be telling their version of the truth, or they may be lying through their teeth. They may be bluffing! Ultimately it doesn’t matter. Stick to what you know, and try not to be influenced by those who have a vested interest in throwing you off track.
Remember that court proceedings are never guaranteed. No matter how good your case looks at the outset, things can change. If you get a sensible offer, don’t reject it just because you want revenge or your day in court. Even those who are vindicated by a judge in the end often tell me that they’d rather not have been in that situation in the first place. A matter should only go to trial if you think there is a realistic chance of getting a significantly better resolution than anything the other side have offered you so far.
Remember that if you are going to go to court, make sure you tell your solicitor EVERYTHING. The other side are not the only ones who may be inclined to sugar coat the truth. Many cases have been lost by the other side’s actions, but just as many have not been won because the client didn’t tell me the whole story at the outset. Trust me, I’ve heard it all before. It’s many years since anyone has been able to shock me although I’m open to the challenge if you want to give it a try.
Remember that we are happy to do a consultation on any matter. If you want to chat something through, to get an impartial view on your options and costs, let me know.
Remember that our initial consultations are free, but I’ll have a pint of Guinness whilst we’re talking!
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The Full service law firm. Remembering what’s important.