IT is widely believed that where a lawyer and the opposing counsel know each other, there is a better chance to sort matters out in a less acrimonious, and less expensive, manner. I fully agree with it.
Where you know and respect your counterpart, tension tends to drop immediately.
However, this is not always the case and sometimes the opposite is true; many lawyers feel a lack of respect, trust or loyalty towards their counterpart due to personal differences, historical disputes, or a mere dislike for the other human being.
These scenarios often trigger disciplinary action by the law society, which is in charge of dealing with such matters.
As an example, the Malaga Law Society recently reprimanded a lawyer who accused the opposing counsel in court of ‘barefaced lying’, ‘instructing witnesses to deliberately prevaricate’, ‘submitting a fundamentally malicious,
reckless and fraudulent claim that not only omits prejudicial documentation but also exaggerates facts and twists reality’, and of ‘sending missives pressurising the other party to accept an agreement, not short of blackmail’.
Instead the society found that the tedious appeal submitted by the opposing party was incorrect and threw it out.
The same outcome was reached after a lawyer, on talking about the merits of his rival claimed he was a drunkard and was not fit to practice.
And what about lawyers acting with disrespect towards their clients?
There is certainly plenty of that too…but that is a story for another column.
Antonio answers your queries
Q. I live in a flat and I want to have an enclosed terrace but the administrator of the community of owners is challenging its legality, what can I do?
A. The administrator has a point as according to the law, you cannot alter the external appearance of a building. If you want to do it, a majority vote is required. However, judicial case law has evolved and often abandons stringent legal positions in favour of a more flexible stance based on how the community has dealt with similar or identical situations in the past and the degree of tacit consent to the enclosure.
Q. I wish to give my share of a jointly held property to my ex-partner, but we have a mortgage and the bank says that they cannot discharge me. Is this true?
A. If a bank tells you that something is not possible, other than borrowing money, get a second opinion! In this case, they can discharge you if they wish but you will have to explain in detail what is happening with the ownership. Generally, a lender will want sufficient financial guarantees and if your ex-partner’s salary alone does not match the lending criteria, they will turn down the application. This means that you will still be liable for repayment of a loan even though you are no longer an owner. To increase the chances of them agreeing, I suggest you prepare a credible story and always bear in mind that, if they let you walk away from the loan, they will almost certainly try to seize the opportunity to increase the applicable interest rate.