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The Legal Profession

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					Legal Personnel



  The Legal
  Profession
Barristers …
Senior Branch of the Profession


              9000 in practice in
              England & Wales.
              Provide advocacy
              and written advice.
Barristers Training…
        Academic Stage…
      Law Degree or any other
     subject plus CPE or PDL.

      Vocational Training…
      One year bar course.
Membership of one of 4 Inns
     – 12 dinners –
    Call to the Bar.
    Practical Training…
   Pupillage of 2 x 6mths.
      Once qualified –
   becomes self-employed.
Can wait for up to 18 months
         to be paid.

Cannot sue for fees.
Criticism…
  This leads to the assumption that Barristers
   need to come from wealthy middle-class
                  backgrounds.

           The Bar has developed an
    aloofness from the general population.
Control Over Barristers

          By Bar Council Benchers
 Who set training and investigate complaints.

  Legal Services Ombudsman may investigate
   complaints about the way the Bar Council
         has investigated a complaint.
Paid an ‘Honorarium’
     In Rondel v Worsley (1969) - bad
   advocacy cannot give rise to negligence
                 actions.
     Salif Ali v Sidney Mitchell & Co (1977)
 agreed with this, but said that they can be held
    liable for negligent advice before a court
                      action.
Hall v Simons 2000
http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld199900/ldjudgmt/jd000720/hall-
                                         1.htm
 House of Lords asked to decide if a Solicitor
 and/or Barrister can be liable for negligence
     in advocacy and written situations.

  (In the Court of Appeal, it had been had held
   that the solicitors and/or barristers could be
            liable for their negligence.)
See following slides for case outline…
Judges arguing for both Civil and
Criminal negligence liability …

        Lord Steyn & Hoffman.
 While Lord Browne-Wilkinson seemed to
   accept civil and criminal Liability, he
 argued that criminal would be struck out
     unless appeal was first successful.
Saying NO to Criminal Liability in
Negligence
             Lord Hope & Hutton
   Civil liability YES – but NO to criminal
                    liability.
                 Lord Hobhouse
          rejected Browne-Wilkinson
  argument and preferred civil liability only.

      Thus, they are so far equal. However,
      …
Outcome…
   Lord Millett – supported liability for negligence in
      Civil and Criminal trials – saying formidable
    safeguards exist because D cannot challenge until
   the judgement set aside on grounds of an abuse of
                   process of the court.

     Thus, the ratio decidendi of the case is that a
       barrister and/or solicitor can be liable in
      negligence for advocacy or written advice.
Recent Changes…
Since the Court and Legal Services Act
                   1990
barristers have lost their monopoly over
    advocacy in higher courts. Now
   solicitors have a right to become
           certified advocates.
   Can you give examples of higher
                 courts?
            In March 2001 the
          Office of Fair Trading
  called for the abolition of QC status.

The Bar has also called for barristers to be
                 able to see
     clients directly in ‘simple cases’.
Solicitors…

      Seen as ‘General Practitioners’.

Prior to the Courts and Legal Services Act
 they were the only way of approaching
                barristers.

      Now other professionals, such as
   accountants, may approach barristers
                 directly.
Solicitors Training…
 They can specialise in one area of law. But
  they still need a Law Degree or CPE –
   provides general subject knowledge.

 Then must also do the Legal Practice Course
     (at the College of Law or authorised
 University) – then a period of apprenticeship
      as a Trainee Solicitor (who is paid).

 Enrol with the Law Society (Master of the
                  Rolls).
Criticism of Training
Michael Zander argues that both the
 academic and vocational stages of training
 should be improved. He argues that Law
 Degrees should include preliminary training
 in areas such as drafting documents and
 developing interview skills.
Criticism of Training
Zander further argues that both pupillage
 and training contracts can be ‘infinitely
 variable’ in quality ‘ranging from excellent to
 deplorable depending on where they are
 undertaken’.
Criticism of Training

Zander suggests that more integrated training
 is needed, like that undertaken by medical
 students, with better links between the
 academic and vocational stages.
Reform of Training?
The Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee
 (ACLEC) in a 1996 report suggested that
 the two branches should no longer have
 separate training programmes at the post-
 graduate stage, Instead, all students should
 take a Professional Legal Studies course …
Reform of Training?
This ‘Professional Legal Studies’ course
 (taken by students after they have a law
 degree or degree in another subject plus
 the CPE) would last around 18 weeks. Only
 then would students decide which branch of
 the profession to choose – going on to take
 the ‘Legal Practice Course’ or ‘Bar
 Vocational Course’.
Funding of Training

Charter 88 argue that students should be
 funded throughout their legal training – so as
 to open up the profession to the most able
 candidates from a variety of backgrounds and
 regardless of means.
Recent Changes…
   Now over 1000 certified advocates –
         What does that mean?
Which Act of Parliament brought this about?

 There are enabling proposals in the Access
to Justice Act 1999 to enable all solicitors to
       have wider rights of audience.


  When training – new solicitors are now
        given advocacy training.
Who Deals With What (a Solicitor or
Barrister)?
  A conveyance of land?
 Dealing with a person accused of a
        summary offence?

 Dealing with a breach of contract?

 Dealing with a Divorce?
  Taking an appeal to the House of
              Lords?
Legal Executives…
        Professionals – educated via the
      Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX).

  Need just 5 GCSE’s – practical experience
             and 5 year training.

 Must be supervised by a Solicitor – but they
  can convert their qualification through a
    Law Society Legal Practice Course.
Licensed Conveyancers
    Qualification first introduced in 1985 to
        break Solicitors monopoly on
                 conveyancing.
    Must have some practical experience and
     take professional exams. Need not be
           supervised by a solicitor.
 Many now work for banks and building societies
 - assisting in mortgages and conveyancing (as a
 result of the provisions of The Courts and Legal
                 Services Act 1990).
 Para-Legals…
 USA term - often refers to a partly qualified
               legal secretary.
 In England and Wales Para-Legal Association
  set up in the late 1980’s – aimed at those who
 lack the educational qualifications to take the
                   ILEX course.

Can only work with legally qualified personnel –
often doing office work (Local Govt, Commerce
                     etc) …
Fusion
Fusion used to be a major debate.
 However, the Courts and Legal Services
 Act 1990 and the Access to Justice Act
 1999 mean that barristers and solicitors can
 take a case from start to finish.
Fusion

Under the AJA 1999 barristers have a right
 to do litigation (prelim work in starting a
 case). Solicitors now have wider rights of
 advocacy in all courts.
Women and ethnic minorities

Legal profession has an image of being white
 and male dominated.
However, over half of the entrants to the
 profession are now women.
Though, only 7% of Q.C.’s are women? Also,
 only 19% of solicitors partners are women!
 Why is this?

				
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