The legal profession in the United Kingdom has personalized the political system more than countless years to provide the society the finest law. The legal profession in England and Wales is separated into two different branches: barristers and solicitors. These two different types of lawyers accomplish different purposes while there is an inevitable amount of similarities in their actions. Throughout this essay I shall build up an understanding of both barristers and solicitors, as well as commenting whether these branches should be fused into one as opposed to maintaining two distinct branches of the same profession.
Solicitor is someone who has undergone legal training and been admitted to the practice of law. To gain entry to the profession, a person should usually possess a law degree. Subsequently, the person needs to pass the one-year full-time or two-year part time Legal Practice Course, complete a two-year training contract and complete the Professional Skills Course. They may then apply to the Law Society for admission to the roll of solicitors. The workers must be entered on the roll of solicitors of England and Wales and hold a current Law Society practising certificate in order to legally practise as a solicitor.
The solicitor is often the first branch to refer too in place of their client for different legal purposes such as signing contracts and conducting legal actions. Solicitors act for and offer advice and guidance to their clients on the laws of England and Wales. Solicitors engage in a wide range of legal activities such as commercial law, probate, conveyance, family law, criminal and civil litigation and arbitration. Solicitors have rights to practise exclusively in certain areas of the law.
The barrister is a lawyer who has been admitted to “plead at the bar.” Meaning that he or she has been called to the bar by the ‘benchers’ and subject to pupil age requirements, also is allowed to appear in court to argue a client’s case. Fundamentally, successfully obtaining a second-class honours degree, the need of attending the Inns of Court School of Law, or other validated Bar Vocational Course provider, for a one year term and passing the “bar final” exams. Furthermore, followed by a one-year pupil age in chambers, where the learner lawyer benefits from association and attendance at court with an experienced barrister. This allows students to acquire the skills, knowledge of procedure and competence to prepare them for the specialised training of the twelve months of pupil age. But before the pupil age, a barrister-in training must attend twelve dinners at the Inns of Court, followed by the call to the bar.
Although the process of becoming a barrister seems much more demanding, the outcomes are much superior as oppose to a solicitor. Only barristers can become judges in the higher courts. Barristers, usually, do not have to go through as much paper work as solicitors. Nevertheless, barristers are not allowed to open their own law firms and are obliged to proactive on their own account, whereas solicitors are not.
Differences between Barristers and Solicitors
A barrister and a solicitor are two different professions. They do handle certain issues of the same effect but they are, ultimately, very different. One of the biggest differences between the two is also one of the most basic the difference of their every-day lives. The professions handle separate issues. A solicitor specialises in an area giving advice to a client with legal problem, afterwards if it is necessary to come in front of a judge this must pass on their case to the barrister who then will argue in court. The point of this is that a barrister is qualified enough to do so, and clearly able. Becoming a barrister is a highly difficult thing to do. It takes determination and hard work. Not that being a solicitor doesn’t, it is just that they differ in where and how their progression grows. Barristers need solicitors for their work and solicitors need barristers to continue their work for them. They are a partnership
Should the two stay separated?
Many countries which operate their legal system in a fused structure (there is no division between barristers and solicitors, but rather considered as one profession, called a lawyer) find it hard to understand why a country would divide their legal system. However, there are many advantages to the division;
“Having an independent barrister reviewing a cause of action gives the client a fresh and independent opinion from an expert in the field, something that rarely happens in jurisdictions with fused professions” (encyclopedia.stateuniversity, N/A).
Another valid point is that small legal firms, who could not compete with large ones, if the professions would be fused, are able to compete thanks to the availability of specialist barristers at the bar. This is because barristers are not allowed to open their own legal firms so they are independent. Consequently, different legal firms can sign the same barrister, whereas, if the profession would be fused, the lawyers would be signed to one firm only. Nevertheless, because barristers are a separate entity to solicitors, when solicitors make mistakes or misrepresent a client, a barrister is legally allowed and he should recommend on a separate possible claim against the solicitor. If the two would be fused this would not be the case. Hence, clients in countries which the legal profession is divided are able to get correct and honest legal advice from barristers regarding whoever represented them.
Having trials conducted by experienced, specialists, advocates makes for smoother, more professionally run trials (encyclopedia.stateuniversity, N/A). Hence, legal operations all over the country run smoother and are more efficient.
Should the two be fused?
If by any means the two professions will be fused into one profession, many costs will be reduced to the country and to the individual. For instance, if an individual is to open a law case, he is likely to be compulsory to approach a solicitor who will handle all the paper work for him and then he will probably need to be introduced by the solicitor to a barrister. This is a long and dull method which would have been avoided if the two would be fused.
Speaking about international integration and the constant movement of labour, especially within the E.U, the movement of law professionals to the UK are blocked, because of the division. This is because most countries in the EU and in the world do not have the division of the legal profession. However, two questions should be raised; how much does the English government wish for the legal system to consist of foreigners? And is language and culture too great a obstruction for the legal structure to consist of foreigners?
Barristers are heavily criticised for being ‘over-specialists’ in some particular areas and that they do not have an adequate amount of understanding of other areas of the law apart from their own specialised sector.
In conclusion, they are different careers within the same profession. They handle different issues and provide different services to their clients but ultimately, support each other in their line of work. All things considered, there are strong arguments for both sides; to come forward with a demanding answer if the two should or should not be fused is hard to reply on. It is a very prejudiced matter and a very opinionated material. However, I would say that an aspect that is not stated because it is hard to argue according to it, and some may be offended by it, is that the average English person is proud of his or her tradition so to speak. The English individuals constantly challenge to be unique and distinctive in almost every way possible; he or she chooses to be reliable on its historical and almost, extinct traditions. A very good example is lighting in London; in many streets in London Street lamps are based on gas, a wasteful and inefficient way to light the streets of London. A way which not a lot of countries carry on doing in modern days, but the English feel as if it is part of their tradition and culture. The same applies to the legal system, which should or should not be updated and correlated to the rest of the world, but the English choose not to. In a way it is oddly beautiful. Hence, I think the legal profession should remain divided, separated and distinct. Not because it is better for the individual and not despite the extra costs, but because of the English tradition.