Describe The Roles Of Barrister And Solicitor In The British Legal System.
Lawyers may be called to the Bar or admitted as solicitors. Do you perceive any deficiencies in the
way in which lawyers obtain professional qualifications? To what extent have recent years seen an
overlap between the two professions? 
Assess critically whether the existence of a divided legal profession can still be justified. Does the
present system present any problems for a student wishing to embark on a legal career?
‘The job of a barrister and a solicitor within the English Legal System is essentially the same.’
Discuss the truth of this statement. 
In most countries there is a single legal profession. Individual lawyers may choose to specialize in any areas of their expertise. However, in England and Wales, the professions of barrister and solicitor are separate and the work is different. It is not possible to belong to both branches of the legal profession, but it is possible for a barrister to retrain and become a solicitor and vice versa. However this with is may be a disadvantage in terms of time wasted without income and a fresh start on the bottom of a new professional ladder. Hence, there is a high demand of a fused legal profession, however it is never implemented.
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The work of both professions are different. Barristers in private practice usually deals with preparation of opinions, drafting of pleadings, and the presentation of cases in court. They are not permitted to do tasks normally performed by solicitors. Barrister had a right of audience in any civil and criminal courts. Barristers were immune from any action for negligence however this was removed.
Solicitors in private practice deal with the public directly and may do work ranging from conveyancing, divorce and family matters, execution of wills etc.
They are usually paid a negotiated fee per case, though a lengthy trial may incur extra costs. The fees may vary according to the barrister’s experience and reputation; however it is usually higher than that of a solicitor.
Usually, independent barristers have to take instructions from a solicitor rather than a lay client. This is restricting and may incur extra costs and time. However the new rules of the Bar Council in 1994 and 2004 have extended this right and barristers may now take instructions directly from professionals such as accountants and give advice to members of the public. This may reduce costs and save time, eliminating the problem.
Hall v Simons case.
The Access to Justices Act 1999 gives statutory force to the long standing professional rule that a barrister had duties to the court and his client. They must cite all relevant law whether for and against their case and may not make imputations of dishonesty. A barrister also has cab rank rule which is that they have to accept any brief offered to him in the areas of law which he normally practices.
The barristers governing body is the General council of the Bar whose members are partly nominated to represent the Inns, the Circuits and other specific groups, and partly elected by membership. It serves ad the barrister’s trade union to pursue in terest of the bar, hence regulating the professional practices and activities of barristers.
The Bar Standards Board is responsible for setting and enforcing the Code of Conduct and a complaints machinery overseen by an independent Complaints Commissioner which allows lay clients to complain about professional misconduct.
Prospective solicitors start by having a degree and completing the Common Professional Examination. They would then undergo the Legal Practice Course in the vocational stage which covers the knowledge and practical skills expected of a solicitor. After a two year contract and successful completion of a Professional Skills Course the solicitor is admitted to the rolls but must undertake continuing education throughout his career.
The training process is very competitive. Prospective solicitors would have to first undergo Legal Practice course and get places to train. However, due to limited available places, some applicants are bound to be disappointed. This may be an advantage as those who do eventually become solicitors are the best one third of those who began with the intention however; this is a small consolation for those who fail to compete. An alternative route to qualification as a solicitor is for qualified legal executives to complete the Legal Practice Course and the Professional Skills Course. They are thus exempted from the requirement of a 2 year training contract.
On the other hand, the route to be a barristers is quite different. barristers are expected to have a law degree and can be exempted from training. However, non law graduates have to undergo a course leading to Common Professional Examination and Graduate Diploma in Law. All entrants would move on to the vocational stage and study the Bar Vocational Course in the Inns of Court School of Law, following by courses extending their factual knowledge and advocacy skills with substantial practical element. However, barristers can only take their own clients after full completion of pupillage.
The training process is too, highly competitive. For example, some 2500 graduates would need to compete for 1800 places on the Bar Vocational Course which only 550 of those who succeed are able to find pupillages, and 450 eventually sit in chambers. Therefore, no more than 20 per cent make it to private practice.
The differences in the training and the appointment of Barristers and Solicitors make it harder to fuse the professions together as trainings are based on their job requirements. If a fused profession is adopted, a new qualification structure would need to be devised if a fused profession is adopted.