The Change In Work Of Solicitors And Barristers

1514 words - 6 pages

The Change in Work of Solicitors and Barristers

Many changes have taken place in the work of solicitors and barristers
in recent years and there is still pressure for many other areas to
change. These recent changes have led to much discussion about whether
the professions of solicitors and barristers will eventually become
one.

Solicitors used to have the monopoly on conveyancing, but in the
1980’s the conveyancing monopoly was lost when an Act of parliament
was passed allowing ‘licensed conveyancers’ to conduct conveyancing as
well. The loss of conveyancing did not have the huge impact that
solicitors expected, yet there may be further changes ahead. The OFT’s
report asked whether banks and building societies should be able to
provide conveyancing and probate services to their clients. Small
firms of solicitors worried if they lost too large a portion of their
conveyancing and probate work that they would go under; it is small
firms that often acts for the most vulnerable in society and provide
access to justice in unfashionable parts of town or areas of law. The
OFT’s report also raised the issue of whether the right to conduct
litigation should still operate through a solicitor. In it’s follow up
review the OFT was disappointed that no further steps had been taken
to allow barristers to conduct litigation, and is currently pressing
for a change.

Before Calsa 1990, solicitors only had rights of audience in the
Magistrates and county courts and barristers had a monopoly on rights
of audience in the higher courts. For practically all other hearings
in higher courts they had to instruct a barrister to do the advocacy.
Calsa enabled solicitors to obtain advocacy certificates which would
allow them to appear in the higher courts. In the Access to Justice
Act 1999, this was furthered as the Act stated that all lawyers have
full rights of audience before any courts, subject only to meeting
reasonable training requirements. Calsa also stated that none of the
rules on rights of audience may discriminate against employed lawyers.
Because of this, solicitors employed by the CPS are now presenting
cases in the Crown Court, provided they have satisfied the new rules.
Many people had difficulty believing that employed lawyers would obey
their overriding duties to the court if these were in conflict with
their employers wishes. The Lord Chancellor combated this by including
s42 of the Act a statutory rule that advocates and litigators have an
overriding duty to the court to act with independence in the interests
of justice, and an overriding duty to comply with the rules of their
governing bodies.

It was thought that fusion between the two professions would just
gradually happen, or that the Bar might just die out with solicitors
having the right of first access to client and...

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