Legal Profession

AS Law Legal Profession

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Training of Solicitors

Traditional Route

  • law degree 2:1 or above; legal practice course (1 year full time or 2 year part time) some 'bespoke courses'; training contract with firm/cps (2 year paid); 20 days professional skills course; admitted to roll of solicitors

Alternative Route

  • degree in any other subject; complete common professional exam (1 year full time or 2 year part time); legal practice course; 2 year training contract; admitted to rolls

Third Route

  • need four GCSE's; institute of legal executives level six exams; work in solicitors office 2 years; fellow of legal executives (25 years old and worked 5 years in solicitors office); lpc; 2 year training period and pass final exams; admitted to rolls
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Content of Courses

Law Degree

  • 7 core subjects include, contract law, criminal law, property law, tort law, equity and trusts, constitutioncy and administrative (public law), european law, students also cover other optional topics

Legal Practice Course

  • practical legal research
  • writing, drafting, interviewing, advising, advocacy, business and law practice, conveyancing, litigation
  • and a number of optional subjects

Common Professional Exam

  • non-law graduates wishing to qualify to become a solicitor must cover the 7 core subjects
  • this is done in 1 year full time or 2 year part time
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Training of Barristers

Traditional Route

  • law degree at 2:1 or above
  • join an 'inn of court'
  • bar vocational couse (1 year full time or 2 years part time)
  • called to the bar
  • pupillage (2x6 months rotation) now paid
  • qualified to act as an advocate

Alternative Route

  • non-law degree
  • common professional exam (1 year full time)
  • join inn of court
  • bvc
  • called to the bar
  • pupillage
  • qualified to act as an advocate
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Content of Course

Bar Vocational Course

  • case work skills
  • legal research
  • opinion writing
  • drafting (of various types of documents)
  • conference skills, negotiation, advocacy (court or tribunal appearances)
  • civil and criminal litigation, evidence, sentencing
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Solicitor's Complaint Process

The Law Society used to deal with all complaints and also represented the interests of the solicitor. This was seen as a conflict of interest so now the Law Society does the following:

  • negotiates with and lobbies the professional regulators
  • assist, protect and promote solicitors in England and Wales

Complaints Procedure

  • complaint to solicitor's firm - verbally or in writing in an attempt to resolve dispute
  • complain to Solicitors Regualtion Authority - independent from Law Society:
    • deals with all regulatory matters; sets standards for all solicitors, drafts rules of conduct, administers the roll of solicitors and provides quidance to solicitors on ethical issues
    • deals with disciplinary matters; can reprimand a solicitor, can close down a solicitors firm, return papers and money to owners, refer solicitors to the independent Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, deals with prosecutions against solicitors, compensate thoughs who have lost money through solicitors dishonesty
  • complaints can be made to Legal Complaints Service - clients can complain about poor service
  • complain to Legal services Ombudsman - ombudsman will investigate the way that your complant was dealt with
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Complaint Cases

Rondel V Worsley: the earlier case that then got overruled by Hall V Simons. in the first case barristor were held not to be liable because their first duty was to the courts and they must be 'free to do their duty fearlessly and independently'

Abse V Smith: practice direction 1980. following Abse V Smith allowed to make statement in high court in cases in which terms had been agreed

Saif Ali V Sydney Mitchell & Co.: it was held that a barrister could be sued for negligence in respect of written advice and opinions in that case a barrister had given the wrong advice about who to sue with the result that the claimant was too late to start proceedings against the right person

Griffiths V Dawson: a client can also sue the solicitor for negligence in and out of court work. this happened in Griffiths V Dawson where solicitors for the plaintiff had failed to make the correct application in divorce proceedings against her husband

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Fusion of the Profession

Since the 1960's there have been a series of moves towards breaking down the division between the higher and lower courts, with the most recent review undertaken by Sir David Clemnenti. One of the major moves towards fusion has been giving solicitors rights to appear in the higher courts and for barristers to have direct access to clients

Solicitors Rights of Audience in Higher Court

  • All Solicitors have full rights of audience in tribunals, coroners courts, magistrates courts, county courts, the european courts
  • Solicitors may also obtain rights of audience in the higher courts, crown court, high court, court of appeal, house of lords
  • A solicitor usually briefs a barrister on a case in the higher courts, the barrister then presents the case to the court. however, a solicitor may choose to gain higher rights in either criminal or civil law, or both, in order to offer a complete service for a client
  • Court and Legal Services Act 1990 and Access to Justice Act 1999 gave solicitors higher rights
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Higher Rights


  • continuity for client
  • only pay one lawyer
  • less risk of last minute change of advocate
  • client knows the advocate, confidence in choice
  • solicitor has in-depth knowledge of case
  • easy access to solicitor, approachable and local
  • solicitors work in a firm so other people available to help and give second opinions


  • no second opinion
  • evidence of judges prejudice towards barristers
  • training not a thourough as barristers on advocacy
  • mainly practical experience in lower courts
  • barristers spend more time in court, solicitor/advocates less experience
  • suggestion that juries sometimes don't take solicitor/advocates as seriously
  • may pay as much as with two people as solicitor/advocates usually charge more
  • barristers have years of working with and sharing knowledge of advocacy that solicitors don't
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