Phrases I no longer want to see #1

In the first of what may be an occasional series, I thought I would relate some of the gems of drafting that I have come across in letters that I have received from other solicitors over the years.

My first example has been an all too frequent visitor to my desk, used by aggressive solicitors, often who specialise in general litigation rather than family law. They think that my client has done something he/she shouldn't have done, or has failed to do something they should have done. Accordingly, the letter comes to me threatening to take proceedings against my client and to seek an order that my client "be condemned in costs". Pardon? Condemned? Have these dinosaurs never heard of Resolution or the Family Law Protocol? They obviously want to scare my client into acquiescence, but they have a complete disregard for the long-term effect of such language upon my client and the prospects of reaching an amicable settlement. Please, people, language like this belongs to a (thankfully) bygone era.


  1. It sounds as if some solicitors are determined to co-operate with the government and return family law to positively DICKENSIAN conditions just by using such YUKSOME language!!!
    Speaking of language, Law Actually has an interesting post about annoying office speak, and I found it interesting to note that such HIDEOUS language seems to pervade EVERY single walk of life - even my old one of nursing, where one's demise is now likely to be described as a " Negative Patient Outcome"!! ARRRRRGH!!!!!!!

  2. When I received threatening letters from either solicitors, debt collecting agencies, or the TV Licencing authorities, it raises my hackles and only leads to my response "see you in court"! I don't take kindly to threats, and am aware that my being a man of straw puts me in a very strong position. It costs them money to attack me and even if they won I have none to pay them out.

  3. I hope you don't receive too many such letters John!


Post a comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post. Constructive comments are always welcome, even if they do not coincide with my views! Please note, however, that comments will be removed or not published if I consider that:
* They are not relevant to the subject of this post; or
* They are (or are possibly) defamatory; or
* They breach court reporting rules; or
* They contain derogatory, abusive or threatening language; or
* They contain 'spam' advertisements (including links to any commercial websites).
Please also note that I am unable to give advice.