FAQs

1. Do I need a Solicitor?

2. How do I choose a Solicitor who will meet my needs?

3. How do I know if my Solicitor is a specialist in a certain field?

4. What is the difference between a Barrister and a Solicitor?

5. Can I employ a Barrister myself?

6. How much will legal advice cost?

7. What is Legal Aid?

8. Can I recover my costs from someone else?

9. Do I have to go to Court?

10. What is Mediation?

11. What is Arbitration?

12. What is the Law Society?

1. Do I need a Solicitor?
There are many reasons why a Solicitor may be needed, and it is important to choose someone with whom you feel comfortable and who meets your specific needs.

All practising Solicitors in England and Wales belong to and are governed by a national body, The Law Society. The professional rules of The Law Society uphold independence, integrity and confidentiality.

Solicitors offer independent and professional advice on a wide range of subjects, from buying your first home to selling a multi-million pound business, from advising those accused of crimes to seeking compensation for personal injury or medical negligence, and from drafting wills to advising on patents and copyright infringements.

Solicitors offer comprehensive legal services including advice, preparation of documents, negotiation, and representation in Court. Many firms now offer other complementary services such as financial advice, mediation and property selling.


2. How do I choose a Solicitor who will meet my needs?
You may want a Solicitor who specialises in a complex area of law; a firm that is close to you or that offers home visits; or, if you are of limited means, a Solicitor who undertakes publicly funded work (previously known as Legal Aid).

To see a list of Leicestershire Law Society Solicitors who specialise in a particular aspect of the law, go to the Find a Solicitor page and select the specialism for which you need advice.


3. How do I know if my Solicitor is a specialist in a certain field?
Increasing numbers of Solicitors now practice exclusively in one area of law. One firm may have several lawyers working within one area, each of whom specialises in different aspects of that particular area of law.

The Law Society has a range of specialist panels in fields such as personal injury, immigration, family law and several other areas of the law. Admission of a Solicitor to membership of any of these panels requires a certain amount of experience, and compliance with set criteria and standards. Details of the specialist panels can be found on The Law Society's website at The Law Society


4. What is the difference between a Barrister and a Solicitor?
For hundreds of years, the legal profession of England and Wales has been divided largely into two branches: Solicitors and Barristers. As a general rule, Solicitors handle the day-to-day management of a case and deal directly with clients. Barristers are engaged to carry out particular tasks at certain stages, such as conference advice or advocacy. It may be that a Barrister's services will never be required in the context of a particular case.


5. Can I employ a Barrister myself?
A Barrister usually works as a self-employed individual who is retained by the Solicitor for certain tasks particular to a case. Barristers are not normally permitted to take instructions from the general public.


6. How much will legal advice cost?
The cost of legal advice will vary according to the particular case. Your Solicitor may be able to give you an initial indication of the likely cost of the case. If this is not possible, in some circumstances you can agree with your Solicitor a method of controlling costs such as by way of a fixed fee arrangement, a costs limit, regular payments or regular invoices. There are regulations about Solicitors' charges, and costs can be reviewed.

Some types of cases can be covered by conditional fee agreements (also known as "no win - no fee" schemes). This method of funding is now available for almost all types of legal work except for criminal and family law cases.

The cost of meeting legal advice is often also available through legal expenses insurance (frequently part of household or motoring insurance policies), trade unions and motoring organisations such as the AA or RAC. You should check your membership documentation to see if you have such cover.


7. What is Legal Aid?
Legal Aid, now known as Public Funding, is available for a range of civil and criminal matters. Even if you are eligible for Public Funding, you may be required to make a contribution towards your legal costs.


8. Can I recover my costs from someone else?
A basic premise in litigation type work is that the loser pays the winner's fees. Whether it will be possible for you to recover your legal fees from the other party in your particular case is a matter that you should raise with your Solicitor.


9. Do I have to go to Court?
In many cases, your Solicitor is likely to advise you that it will be in the best interests of your case to avoid Court attendance, and he/she will try to reach an amicable settlement out of Court, on your behalf, with your opponent. It may, on the other hand, be beneficial to have your case adjudicated by a Court.

Going to Court is nevertheless an expensive process, as the legal costs will be increased by several factors including your Solicitor's and Barrister's fees as well as those charged by the Court itself. Sometimes a Court hearing can be the only option, but settlement out of Court can often be achieved by negotiation, mediation or arbitration.

10. What is Mediation?
Mediation is a way of resolving disputes which helps the parties involved to reach an agreement with the aid of an impartial third party - the mediator. The parties in dispute (not the mediator) decide the terms of any settlement. Mediators do not take sides, give advice, or make judgments.

Mediation is not free, but it is usually a cheaper and less contentious way of resolving disputes than litigation. Decisions reached during mediation are not legally binding, but can be made so by the parties if they wish.

11. What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is used in wide range of international commercial contracts. It is a method of dispute resolution, but the final result requires the agreement of the parties. Such agreement is usually given in an arbitration clause in the contract in question, but arbitration can also be entered into after a dispute has arisen.

There are many different bodies providing arbitration services, frequently tailored towards a specific type of arbitration. For example, ACAS (www.acas.org.uk) provides arbitration in relation to employment disputes.


12. What is The Law Society?
The Law Society represents solicitors in England and Wales. From negotiating with and lobbying the profession's regulators, government and others, to offering training and advice, we're here to help, protect and promote solicitors across England and Wales.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) deals with all regulatory and disciplinary matters, and sets, monitors and enforces standards for solicitors across England and Wales. Formerly known as the Law Society Regulation Board, it acts solely in the public interest

The Legal Complaints Service (LCS) is for members of the public wishing to make a complaint about solicitors. Formerly known as the Consumer Complaints Service, this independent and impartial body will work with solicitors to resolve any issues quickly and efficiently.

 

 

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