Rainscourt Family Law Solicitors

What are the different types of family lawyers in the UK?

There are many different types of lawyer that can advise on your family law matter in England & Wales. Some categories of lawyer are regulated by professional bodies and carry mandatory levels of indemnity insurance. Other lawyers are unregulated and may be limited in the kind of legal support they can offer. Only regulated lawyers can carry out “reserved legal activities“.

Regulated Lawyers


Solicitors are highly trained individuals who are registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) on the roll of solicitors in England and Wales. Qualification requires a minimum of 3 years training after graduation. The SRA is the regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales and sets the regulations and standards for the solicitors’ profession. Practising solicitors must all carry a minimum level of Professional Indemnity Insurance for the protection of their clients. Solicitors are represented by the Law Society.

All of the lawyers at Rainscourt Family Solicitors are qualified solicitors.


Barristers are specialised and independent lawyers who typically practise as advocates in court. Barristers normally operate from Chambers, alongside other independent barristers. Barristers are regulated by the Bar Council and are members of one of London’s Inns of Court.

At Rainscourt Family Law Solicitors, we have a network of barristers which we call upon to represent our clients in courts around the country. In most cases, barristers are instructed by solicitors. However, a direct access scheme exists which enables clients to instruct barristers directly.

Legal Executives

Chartered Legal Executive lawyers can carry out reserved legal activities alongside, for example, solicitors, barristers and licensed conveyancers. Chartered Legal Executives are regulated by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), and must abide by that body’s code of conduct.

Other Authorised Lawyers

There are other specialised types of lawyer who may carry out regulated legal work but who are unlikely to be involved in family law. This includes licensed conveyancers, trade mark attorneys, patent attorneys, notaries and law costs draftsmen.

Non-regulated Lawyers

McKenzie Friends

McKenzie Friends can provide support to individuals in court proceedings, as well as help with note taking and giving advice. However, they are not permitted to speak in court. McKenzie Friends are not controlled or subject to mandatory regulation. They do not have to carry insurance or obtain any legal qualifications.


A paralegal is normally someone who works in a law firm but is not working as a regulated lawyer. They may be working to gain experience while they obtain their professional qualifications. A paralegal may also be referred to as a legal advisor or legal assistant. They cannot carry out reserved activities.

Family Lawyers
The Law Society by Matt Brown
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If you would like to book an initial phone consultation at no cost, please contact us today.

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