At ABC Lawyers we aim to identify those clients who may be at risk of being vulnerable by virtue of their age, disability or circumstance. This Policy is written as our commitment to such clients.
1) It is important to us that we are able to identify clients who may be vulnerable and we are committed to training all our team to identify key indicators such as age, disability or clients who find themselves in a particularly stressful situation where their judgment may be impaired or they may be vulnerable to influence or exploitation.
2) We aim to treat older clients, their families and representatives, with additional consideration, by being both sympathetic and sensitive to any issues they may have. We also aim to ensure that our team also treats such clients with dignity, kindness and respect at all times.
3) Where a client prefers to communicate with us with another person present (either by phone or in person), we will strive to facilitate this request. We will require that person’s full name and relationship to the client, and where such a person is an Attorney or Court of Protection Deputy we will ask to see evidence of this. However, we will always strive to ensure that our client understands and feels at ease if they are alone with us.
4) Where English is not the first language of our client, or has difficulty hearing or with sight, we suggest that an appropriate independent interpreter assists, or a person that our client trusts to help the client understand what is being discussed. We will be mindful of any other limitations such as mobility or capacity and provide every support to enable our client to communicate and feel comfortable in providing their instructions. We can provide large print, Braille or sign writing facilities as necessary.
5) We will use plain English and where legal terminology has to be used we will ensure that our client understands and will not proceed until we are sure of this.
6) All our offices have disabled access with disabled parking and toilet facilities.
7) We are obliged to verify the identification of all our clients but are mindful that some of our older clients do not have valid passports or driving licences and will adapt our procedures to accommodate such clients when necessary provided that this does not compromise our own money laundering requirements. ID will be required for any Attorney, Deputy or other agent for our client.
8) We are aware that many of our older clients are computer literate and will feel comfortable communicating via email, but we will never insist on this form of communication and will make our older clients feel at ease by sending letters by post if this is preferred and we are happy to send duplicate correspondence to a family or trusted support provided that such authority is provided by the client.
9) We will always act in the client’s best interests and where we have concerns as to vulnerability, capacity, coercion or undue influence we will do our best to seek our client’s permission to refer him/her if necessary for a further professional opinion.