Five minutes. FiveQuestions.How many can you answer?1. Can you name at least five of the core topicswhich must be covered in the academic stage?2. Can you name one difference between atraining contract and pupilage?3. Can you identify one recent change to improvetraining to be a lawyer?4. Can you explain identify the differencebetween the initial rights of audience for abarrister and a solicitor.5. Can you explain what an ‘instruction’ is and whya solicitor may want to prepare one.Starter:
Have no direct contactwith the clientCan appear in all courts But through access schemes e.g. Bar Direct, theymay be directly approached in certain areas ofthe lawSpecialists Office work But increasingly can and do specialise e.g. largercommercial firmsDirect contact with client Cab-rank But increasingly can appear in courts on behalf ofclients and depends on their specialism, some willnot appear in courtIndividual Client based But they work together with the solicitor who isinstructing them on the case, and the chamberswho receive the workAppear in lower court General Practice But they can avoid this through selection etc.Work in firms Advocate But solicitors may obtain higher rights ofaudience and barristers must qualify for themComparing Professions...Can you match up the points?Have no direct contactwith the clientCan appear in all courts But through access schemes e.g. Bar Direct, theymay be directly approached in certain areas ofthe lawSpecialists Office work But increasingly can and do specialise e.g. largercommercial firmsDirect contact with client Cab-rank But increasingly can appear in courts on behalf ofclients and depends on their specialism, some willnot appear in courtIndividual Client based But they work together with the solicitor who isinstructing them on the case, and the chamberswho receive the workAppear in lower court General Practice But they can avoid this through selection etc.Work in firms Advocate But solicitors may obtain higher rights ofaudience and barristers must qualify for them
Should the two professions be more closely linked?
Generally, thereare four reasonsyou mightcomplain:Breach of contractNegligenceThe service youhave received (thismay include the billfor solicitors)Professionalmisconduct
Complaint One:ContractualIn instructing a solicitor you enteringa contractWhy is this so important?If you don’t pay... they can sue you forthemButYou may also have the right to take actionfor breach of contract whether you arethe client, or are affected by the actionsof the solicitorGriffiths vDawson (1993)White vJones (1995)Because a member of the publicdoes not ordinarily instruct abarrister, there is nocontract between the client andthe lawyer.Who should you complain to?
NegligenceYou have to prove that you were owed a duty of reasonable care and skill, that theduty has been breached and that you have suffered loss and damage as a result.Hall v Simon 2000Examples:Missed time limitsIncorrect adviceWrong drafting of documentsInadequate service or bad adviceSolicitors BarristersSaif Ali v Sydney MitchellCo 1980
“Service Given”Legal Services Act 2007Student Task:Read the enclosed articles, the leaflet andanswer the following questions in asmuch detail as you can.1. Who now oversees complaints aboutlawyers?2. Who should you complain to firstbefore going to the ombudsman?3. What are the time limits on making acomplaint?4. What type of thing can you complainabout?5. What sort of thing can’t you complainto them about?6. What are their powers?
What sort of issues do they actually cover?Here’s a case example from the LeO to show you…They’ve got better puns than Miss H!
What sort of issues do they actually cover?Here’s a case example from the LeO to show you…Adding insult to injuryMr A tripped over a paving slab in the street and fell, hurting his knee badly and scarring his face. His accidentalso left him feeling distressed and shaken up. He felt that he had fallen because of the wonky paving.So he went to a solicitor to see if they could give him advice. Hed not used a solicitor before, so he told themwhat happened and trusted them to keep him updated.Mr A contacted his solicitors office regularly to see if he needed to do anything and find out what was happening.Over time he realised he hadnt heard anything from his solicitor for a long time. He didnt think too much about itas they said they would get in touch when they needed to.Two and a half years passed, and Mr A received a call from his solicitor. But instead of giving him an update, Mr Awas told that his file was misplaced and, because of this, no work had been carried out on this case.Mr A was upset and worried that he had lost his chance of seeking compensation for his injuries – instead ofthings all being in hand, a long time had passed and he no longer had any of his evidence to support his claim. Hehad taken some photos after his fall with an old mobile phone, and these were on the file. And the pavement hadsince been repaired by the council.He went a new solicitor to see what his options were. They advised that while they would try to pursue his claim, itwould be very hard without the evidence that had been gathered at the time of the accident.Mr A complained to the first firm of solicitors. They admitted that they should have kept him up to date andoffered him £600 to acknowledge this. Mr A then came to us as he didnt feel that his first solicitor hadunderstood the impact of losing his file on him and his case. We looked into it, and, as a result, the first firmacknowledged that the lack of work on Mr As case had caused him a lot of distress. After speaking to us theyoffered Mr A £750 in recognition of the impact their delays had had on him – and better still, after some hunting,also managed to locate his file with original photographs, which would be forwarded to his new solicitor.
Professional MisconductFor solicitors, this means abreach of the ‘principles’...For barristers, this means abreach of the code of conductFirstly:What kind of thing do you think is covered by this?Secondly:Please note that you can follow these routes even if the lawyeris not yoursThirdly:There is a different route depending on the type of lawyer youare (and you need to know both!)
Solicitors1. Always start bycomplainingto....2. Complete theform.. Withevidence etc.3. You may neverhear anythingmore!Refer to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal(Mix of lay and experienced solicitors)Take actions against the individual or firm (includingshutting it down!)Make payments if lost out due to dishonesty
Barristers1. Contact themwithin 12 months2. Complete thecomplaints form!3. They assess it,and let you knowwhat they think.4. If necessary, willcarry out aformalinvestigationCouncil of Inns of CourtMembers including barristers,judges and at least one lay memberThree or five members
So this is the summary ofcomplaints about a barrister...Student task:Can you produce a similar one forthe process of complaining abouta solicitor?
Can you apply your learning?Reason your response using what you have learnt this lesson.Your Great Aunt Betty has died. You were told that she had leftyou her house, and have a letter which she sent to her solicitorssaying this, but her will was not updated.Do you have an action?You were involved in a nasty car accident. You instructed yoursolicitor to take action, and they said that they would with amaximum fee of £2000. However, they have sent you a bill for£10,000 for work done.Do you have an action?You discover that the barrister who accepted instructions has noexperience in this complicated area of the law and is unfamiliarwith it. You have lost your case.Do you have an action?Your solicitor has asked a barrister for advice on the possiblesubmission of key evidence in your claim. The barristerconcluded that it was not valid. You have lost the case, butdiscovered that the evidence was legally vaild.Do you have an action?
Legal Services Act 2007Reform of the lawIn 2004, the Clementi report was published, which looked at how to update the legal profession,to make sure it offered clients a better deal. It also looked at how to provide a clearer, moreindependent complaints system. The LSA implemented some of those changes.What did it propose?Create an independent complaints service supervised by the Legal Services Board to supervise theregulation of lawYERS.New independent ombudsman heading the Office for Legal Complaints. (Now known as the LegalOmbudsman)The representative and regulatory functions are to be separated.Legal Disciplinary Practices (LDP) & Alternative Business Structures [‘Tesco Law’] (ABS)
One recent development:Alternative Business StructuresAllows lawyers and non-lawyers to set up businesses together.Licence given out by BSB or SRA, and recommended to LordChancellorWill replace Legal Disciplinary Practices (LDP)Student Task:Read the enclosed article, useyour brain and answer the twoquestions:1. What is Tesco law?2. What are the arguments forand against the change to thecurrent structure?Aim for at least three for each side.
Are each of the followingstatements true or false?Bonus: Can you tell me what the falseones should say? You can only sue for breach of contract ifyou signed the contract. The case which held that barristers areliable for a bad job in court is Hall v Simon.For negligence, the lawyer has to havedone something wrong. A barrister can be sued for breach ofcontractThere are four ways to complain aboutlawyers.