Oftentimes, people are told that they are required to obtain independent legal advice, but are unsure as to why they need it. They simply want to proceed with their transaction or complete an agreement as quickly as possible.
Independent legal advice is impartial advice provided solely to one party by a lawyer. Independent legal advice can not be provided by a non-lawyer such as a commissioner. In circumstances where there is an unbalance of power or a potential conflict of interest, independent legal advice is almost always required. Even if independent legal advice is not required, it is a good idea to seek independent legal advice to obtain an impartial view of the terms and conditions imposed by a transaction or agreement so that one may enter into a legal obligation with “eyes wide open”, in a manner of speaking. Obtaining independent legal advice, however, does not mean that one party is obtaining a good deal. Parties are free to enter into bad agreements or agreements that may be contrary to their own interests.
When I provide independent legal advice, I require at least two pieces of I.D. and the documents pertaining to the agreement or transaction in advance. These are required because I need to verify the party’s identity and determine whether there is a potential conflict of interest for the lawyer who is providing the independent legal advice. The documents are required because a lawyer can not provide good independent legal advice without going through the documents with the party or individual. It is up to the individual seeking independent legal advice to provide the above.
Depending on the matter being discussed, a meeting to review the agreement can be sufficient. Where independent legal advice is a requirement and requested by another party, a certificate of independent legal advice can also be provided.
Due to the urgency of some files, house call and after-hours service is available for independent legal advice.