Australia is a country built on a proud tradition of independence and a “do it yourself” attitude. Australians tend to believe that there is no problem that they cannot solve with the help of a little hard work and application, and there is a sense of pride that is tied to this way of doing things.
You only have to look at the fact there is a Bunnings or Masters Home Improvement warehouse in almost every suburb as evidence of this phenomenon!
But this tradition goes well beyond home improvement, which is the reason why many Australians also believe that representing themselves in legal matters is a good choice. Unfortunately this is one circumstance where the risks involved almost always outweigh the benefits of having a professional by your side instead.
Did you know that an average law degree in Australia takes at least four years to complete? Think about four years ago, and just how long that is. Kristina Keneally was still Premier of New South Wales, Kevin Rudd was still Prime Minister (the first time around) and St George Illawarra were NRL premiers!
The point is that four years of intensive education and many more years of private practice is not expertise that can be replicated by reading a few books or websites. Most people would not want a person with limited to no experience servicing their car or renovating their home, and a matter requiring legal representation is almost certainly more serious that both of these.
Through repetition and being confronted with new situations, professionals from all fields become more effective at their jobs. If your livelihood or a large portion of your financial assets are threatened by a lawsuit then it would make sense that you have someone on your side that has experience dealing with that kind of matter.
All lawyers are bound by a special kind of obligation to their clients called a fiduciary duty. This means that they are legally bound to act in the best interests of their clients, no matter what. Tradespeople, accountants and even financial planners do not have the bar set this high, and it ensures that your lawyer must fight for the best outcome for you.
The legal system in New South Wales has evolved over hundreds of years. This means there are literally centuries of overlapping regulations, rules and procedures affecting everything to do with court from filling in a simple form to set a court date, to paying the final fees associated with an appearance.
Lawyers are familiar with these rules and regulations, and know who to communicate with, and when. That service alone is worth its weight in gold because of the amount of stress that can arise from not knowing what the next step needs to be when you are representing yourself.
Key Take Away
Australians are a proud and self-sufficient bunch, but if you are going to court, you should seriously consider whether having a professional on your side would increase your chances of achieving a favourable result. At BTF Lawyers, we provide a wide range of legal services with a wealth of experience, and stand ready to help you with your matter.