The structure of the legal profession in the

The construction of the legal profession in theUnited kingdom( 1250 words )

The English legal profession is frequently held in high respect around the universe, and the system of jurisprudence which the profession patterns has historically formed the footing of legal systems in many other legal powers ( including, of class, those legal powers representing what is now the Commonwealth ) . There is a characteristic of the English profession, nevertheless, that distinguishes it from most foreign legal professions ; and this is the historic split between canvassers and barristers. This essay will discourse this split, and assess the grounds for, every bit good as the positive and negative deductions of, such a split. Finally it will see whether it is desirable for this construction to go on.

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The split in the English profession day of the months from the 19th century, when the members of the profession decided to divide the work that attorneies as a group did. Basically, it was agreed that canvassers would henceforth make all conveyance work and have direct entree to clients. In exchange, rights of audience ( that is, the right to look and recommend ) in the higher tribunals would be held entirely by barristers. The two subdivisions developed into quite distinguishable units, whose chief differences will now be considered briefly.

Today, canvassers are governed and regulated by the Law Society and the newly-founded Solicitors’ Regulation Authority, while barristers are governed and regulated by the Bar Society. As discussed above, since the origin of the professional split, barristers have traditionally conducted protagonism work in the higher tribunals, although canvassers retained the ability to recommend in the county and magistrates’ tribunals. This is one of several differentiations between the subdivisions, nevertheless, that has progressively become blurred. TheCourts and Legal Services Act 1990, and theEntree to Justice Act 1999instigated a procedure of equalizing rights of audience between both subdivisions. This was diagnostic of the general tendency since the late-1960s of harmonization of the subdivisions, possibly taking finally to a re-merging of them. Today, nevertheless, the bulk of protagonism work still rests with barristers, non least because of the cheaper charge-out rates of barristers compared to solicitor-advocates.

This, so, represents what has possibly been the most important difference between canvassers and barristers. What of the type of work each completes? Solicitors have traditionally done all conveyancing work ( that is, unless and until it leads to important differences and judicial proceeding ) , volitions and contractual work ( in whichever specific country the canvasser happens to be involved ) . Barristers, on the other manus, frequently spend much, if non most, of their professional lives carry oning protagonism in the tribunals. They besides, nevertheless, do their portion of paperwork, including outlining legal paperss and bring forthing written legal sentiments on peculiar issues or jobs.

The mode in which canvassers and barristers are employed besides differs significantly. Solicitors will ( normally ) work for a house. A house is different from a company ; it is a partnership. More specifically, and since theLimited Liability Partnerships Act 2000, houses have by and large organised themselves as limited liability partnerships. This is distinguishable from a traditional partnership under which an person can be held personally apt for a claim in carelessness against the house the single plant for. This possible liability survives even the retirement of the person from the house. With limited liability, nevertheless, the liability of an person is limited to any carelessness for which he or she is personally responsible. Barristers, on the other manus, are, and so must, be freelance. The regulations of the Bar stipulate that barristers must non organize partnerships. Despite this, nevertheless, barristers do by and large ( and are allowed to ) portion offices, or Chamberss. Chambers are run by clerks, who function basically as concern directors, supervising the mundane operation of the Chamberss and guaranting a flow of work to the incumbent barristers.

Another important differentiation between canvassers and barristers, and one which is of import given the split in the type of work each subdivision does, is in the preparation path each takes to professional making. While both canvassers and barristers normally commence their preparation with a jurisprudence grade ( although by no agencies ever ) or a transition grade from another subject, jurisprudence school itself ( a vocational twelvemonth ) differs markedly. Prospective canvassers will finish the Legal Practice Course, while prospective barristers will get down the Bar Vocational Course. Upon successful completion, pupils will take to finish a preparation contract or a pupilage severally. Both of these are, basically, apprenticeships in which the campaigner will see, under close supervising, working in their chosen profession.

This, so, outlines the construction of the English legal profession, and high spots some of the cardinal differences between the two subdivisions. As mentioned above, nevertheless, since the late sixtiess at that place has been a distinguishable convergence of the two subdivisions, with some foretelling that finally they will re-merge to organize one profession. The first important measure in this respect was the publication of a study by the Royal Commission on Assizes and Quarter Sessions, and the subsequent granting of the Lord Chancellor the power to let drawn-out rights of audience where there was a deficit of barristers. This was the first clip the reserved country of protagonism was opened up, even somewhat. There followed a series of developments which began to propose a move towards merger. In 1979, nevertheless, the Royal Commission on Legal Services nem con rejected a proposal for such a merger.

Similarly, in 1988, the Marre Committee ( which was established jointly by the Law Society and the Bar Council to see the hereafter of the profession ) decided, basically, that the position quo was sufficient to advance the best involvements of the profession, and advocated its continuance. Despite this discernible reluctance to alter, nevertheless, theCourts and Legal Services Act 1990went some manner towards coercing a convergence between the two subdivisions. It allowed, for illustration, for direct entree to certain clients for barristers ( traditionally the preserve of canvassers ) and higher degree entree for canvassers to the bench. Most significantly, as noted above, it extended rights of audience to “suitably qualified” individuals, taking away barristers’ traditional monopoly in this country. TheEntree to Justice Act 1999was another important measure in this way.

Is it in the profession’s involvement to unify, or fuse, the two subdivisions of the profession that have for so long been distinct? The most cardinal statement in favor of re-merging really relates non to the involvements of the profession itself, but instead to the populace that the profession serves. Clients frequently find themselves paying non merely for canvassers whom they instruct, but if the affair develops to judicial proceeding, besides paying for a barrister. It would certainly be cheaper to pay merely the fees of one professional. Second, by maintaining all the work with one professional ( or at least one group of professionals ) efficiency is promoted ; something which is lost if a canvasser who has been involved with, and to the full understands, a complex instance so has to go through it on to a barrister who must get down from abrasion. It seems on the strength of these statements that it would surely be in the wider involvements of the society the profession serves were the profession to be streamlined in this manner. There are, of class, counter-arguments, associating to the benefits of specialization and independency, but these are outweighed by the obliging demand to present best value and service to the profession’s clients.


Legislative acts

Entree to Justice Act 1999

Courts and Legal Services Act 1990

Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2000

Secondary beginnings

Elliott, C. and Quinn, F. ( 2004 )English Legal System, 5ThursdayEdition ( London: Longman )

Holland, J.A. and Webb, J.S. ( 2003 )Learning Legal Rules, 5ThursdayEdition ( Oxford: OUP )

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