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The English legal system comprises of two different branches, barristers and solicitors.

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Introduction

Essay 1.a) The English legal system comprises of two different branches, barristers and solicitors. In the UK at the moment there are around 9,000 barristers and they are known collectively as the 'Bar'. The governing body for barristers is the Bar Council, which acts as a kind of trade union, safe guarding the interests of barristers and regulating barristers training and activities. All barristers belong to one of the 4 Inns - Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Grays Inn or Lincolns Inn. There are no significant differences between any of the Inns. The majority of barristers work in private practices and they work as individuals. Barristers aren't allowed to form formal partnerships and they usually work from sets of 'chambers' in which a number of barristers are supported by a clerk or clerks. Although barristers are individuals, within their chambers they operate under the 'cab-rank rule'. This means that the barristers must accept any case within their area of competence, providing a proper fee is offered. This rule ensures proper representation for everyone. The work of a barrister in a private practice is generally divided between the preparation of opinions, the drafting of pleadings and the presentation of cases in court ...read more.

Middle

Solicitors can employ other professionals but cannot enter into partnerships with them or be employed by them if they wish to continue practising. It has been suggested by the office of fair-trading that this rule be abolished and the provision of legal services be open to free competition. Solicitors also have rights of audience in some courts and provided they have the right training required, they can become solicitor advocates, which would allow them to take the role of a barrister. Solicitor advocates used to only have limited rights of audience, limited to the magistrates court and the county court. Solicitor advocates now have higher rights of audience, made possible under the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 Solicitors are paid by their clients and this is normally worked out by the time taken. The current rate is around �100 per hour. Under Law Society rules a solicitor should always specify his rate in advance. A client who is no satisfied with their solicitor's bill can refer it to the Law Society, which will reduce the bill if the charges are considered excessive. ...read more.

Conclusion

Barristers work almost as individuals were many solicitors work mainly in partnerships or as employees. The way they are paid is also different, barristers are paid a fee per case but solicitors are paid on an hourly rate and employed barristers and assistant solicitors are paid a salary. Barristers are still bound by the 'cab-rank' rule and must take any case within their professional ability, but solicitors can choose their clients. I think it is true to say that the lines between the professions are being blurred. Some of the differences between solicitors and barristers have been lessened. Solicitors still deal directly with the public and barristers under the Bar Council rules cannot, but they can now take instructions and offer advice from certain professionals such as accountants and further changes are likely. Solicitors are seen as general practitioners and barristers as solicitors but the difference is lessening as many solicitors choose to specialise in particular areas of law. The ability for solicitors to become solicitor advocates is also a big step in removing the differences between the two professions. If changes like these continue to be gradually made, the debate over fusing the two professions may well be solved with little effort, as the professions continue to grow similar. ...read more.

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