The UK has two legal professionals, solicitors and barristers. should the professions be fused - Essay Example

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The UK has two legal professionals, solicitors and barristers. Should the professions be fused? In the United Kingdom members of two distinct legal professions act on behalf of clientele in that there are both solicitors and barristers. They work interactively…
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The UK has two legal professionals, solicitors and barristers. should the professions be fused
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Download file to see previous pages As perceived by the general public solicitors spend their time sitting in an office surrounded by legal tomes, whereas barristers lead a rather more active life. However there times when a barrister can act without being asked to do so by a solicitor, as so on such occasions does his own office work, as when for instance he is instructed by barristers in employment, when acting for patent agents or when instructed by Officers of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. (The Bar Council, undated). At the same time solicitors can, under certain conditions, represent clients in court. Should this practise of differentiation between these two ways of being a British continue or should the two professions become united and act as one? Discussion There are always those who want change and those who will always prefer the status quo. In 1990 the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (Act)2 became legislation. Thurman ( 1993) described this as a monumental change. The aim was to give the public of the United Kingdom a greater choice of legal practitioners. The act, a controversial one, especially among lawyers, gave not only suitably qualified solicitors , but also nonlawyer members of other occupations. There are a number of other important changes such permission being given for the establishment of multi-disciplinary law practices which could nonlawyer members. Even international legal firms were allowed using lawyers from other lands. The Lord Chancellor stated that the aim of the bill was “ensuring that ... a market providing legal services operates freely and efficiently ....” Green Paper, supra note 10, § 1.1 as quoted by Thurman .( page 4) If solicitors are allowed to represent clients in the magistrates court why can they not do so in other courts? Firstly many would not wish to do so. They may have an excellent knowledge of the law , but would not want to be seen on a public stage, which to some extent is what a high court is. Secondly a solicitor’s company may have a wide variety of clients with an equally wide variety of legal needs. They will have a wide knowledge of the barristers available and their particular abilities and specialties – there may be those for instance who specialize in commercial law or be excited by criminal practice. Also many cases are heard in London or other large cities, whereas the magistrates courts are much more local for the majority, as well as dealing with by far the bulk of cases, 95% according to HM Courts and Tribunal Services ( 2009). Only when a case is considered to require a sentence exceeding 6 months in duration are cases passed on to the higher courts. Even then much of the work leading up to the actual court case is done by the solicitor, the barrister taking over for the actual higher court appearance. Another point is that advocacy is only a small proportion of the work undertaken by solicitors according to UK Law Online 1998 which describes how much more time is spent on other tasks:- Litigation is only a small part of the work of the solicitor’s profession as a whole. Most are involved in commercial work relating to business eg dealing with commercial transactions, corporate matters, land, share and other property dealings. There is also a large amount of private client work which does not involve any litigation (if all goes to plan!) such as the conveyancing of houses, making wills, advising on tax matters:- Apart ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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