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Every now and then the police release their most extraordinary 999 calls for us to laugh at and, presumably, learn when not to dial 999.

We solicitors also have emergency numbers for clients who have been arrested and need urgent advice, usually outside of normal business hours.  At least that's what I thought the emergency phone was for.  My clients' families usually think it's for something different.

I've had the emergency phone for the first time in a little while this week and so far have had a number of people calling in the middle of the night believing that when this is just another line to the office and that all of the solicitors sit together in the office in the dark during the night... at least I assume that's what they think when they phone late at night asking to speak to X, Y or Z and then seeming surprised that the person they want is not with me in bed.  Last night, I had one genuine emergency from a man arrested for an assault he said he did not commit and two calls from people wanting to speak to other solicitors in the middle of the night.

One old favourite was a few years ago from woman who called at 3am to enquire what time she was due in court the following morning... assuming either that I live in the office or have memorised the diary.  The most interesting thing about these calls is that the people who make them always assume that you know who they are without being told and some get quite angry when you ask their name.

About eight-years ago a lady called me over the weekend to ask whether I could get her son out of prison as his grandad wasn't feeling well.  I actually tried and actually managed to speak with the governor but she politely refused the request.

One woman a few years back called me demanding to know which prison her son was in.  "Do we represent him?"  I asked.  "No, he has his own solicitor" she replied - I think she said that the other solicitor wouldn't speak to her.  She was livid when I told her that not only did I not know where her son was but I had no way of finding out at 11pm.  She screamed at me to find somebody more industrious to help her and was genuinely surprised when I informed her that since she was screaming at me I wasn't going to help her at all.

I did once get a call from the dad of some girls who had been arrested for pick pocketing (I say dad although he was more like the Fagin character from Oliver Twist), all he could tell me was that they had been arrested and he thought they were in the south-east of England... but not London!!  We actually managed to find them after a few hours and represented them!


  1. The pleasures of the early hours! At least the ones you quote have your number...Many is the time my custody Sergeants face the demand of a newly arrived detainee to contact their lawyer who they only know by first name!

  2. Last night: Woman calls 999 because she has her head trapped in the bars of her bedstead. This involves the police to force entry, the fire brigade to remove her, and the ambulance service to treat her. Might not have been the right use of 999, but she certainly got value for money!

  3. I dont know that does sound like an emergency cetainly for her at least!!

    I try to give my clients as many cards as possible so they have no excuse for asking for anybody by first name!!


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