When it comes to navigating the legal system in England and Wales, it can be confusing to understand the differences between the various types of legal professionals who may be involved in your case. In the context of family law, the two main types of legal representatives you might encounter are barristers and solicitors. Understanding the differences between these two roles can help you make informed decisions about who to hire to represent you in court.
A solicitor is a qualified legal professional who provides advice and represents clients in legal matters. They are able to provide advice on a wide range of legal issues, including family law, and can help you understand the legal process and your options. Solicitors are also responsible for preparing court documents, drafting agreements and representing clients in court.
A barrister, on the other hand, is a specialist legal advisor and advocate. They are typically only involved in court cases, and are responsible for representing clients in court and presenting their case to the judge. Barristers are usually called upon by solicitors to give an opinion on the law, and to advocate for clients in court.
When it comes to family law, solicitors are often the first point of contact for clients. They are able to provide advice on the legal process, and can help clients to understand their rights and the options available to them. They can also help clients to draft agreements and negotiate with the other side. In some cases, however, clients may need the specialized advocacy services of a barrister to present their case in court.
One important thing to keep in mind is that in England and Wales, there is a concept of “direct access” to Barristers, which means you can go to a Barrister directly instead of first seeing a solicitor.
As for practical steps a client can take, here are a few things to consider when hiring a legal representative:
- Understand your legal needs: Before you start looking for a legal representative, it’s important to understand your legal needs. What type of legal advice do you need? What type of representation do you require? By understanding your legal needs, you’ll be able to narrow down your search and find a legal representative who is well-suited to your case.
- Research your options: Once you have a clear understanding of your legal needs, start researching your options. Look for solicitors or barristers who specialize in family law and have experience dealing with cases similar to yours. Read online reviews, talk to friends and family, and don’t be afraid to ask for references from legal representatives you are considering.
- Consider cost: Legal representation can be expensive, so it’s important to consider cost when choosing a legal representative. Make sure you understand the costs involved and what you will be paying for.
- Schedule a consultation: Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential legal representatives, schedule a consultation to meet with them and discuss your case. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions, understand their approach to your case, and see if you feel comfortable working with them.