Should the two legal professions amalgamate?

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Should the two legal professions amalgamate?

The English legal profession is atypical of the majority of the rest of the world due the fact that is divided. Unlike countries such as the USA where they have just one lawyer known as an ‘attorney´, in England we have two different types solicitors and barristers, each with different roles and responsibilities within the system. The principal distinguishing factor between them is that solicitors primarily do the paperwork whereas the role of barristers is mainly concerned with advocacy. The profession has been separated in such a way ever since the nineteenth century as a result of an agreement with the Bar. Solicitors were given the job of direct client contact and the writing of all legal documents in exchange for barristers to have the exclusive rights of audience in the higher courts and eligibility to become senior judges. In spite of this over recent years there has been a sequence of changes resulting in gradual progression towards the merger of the two legal professions.

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The amalgamation of the two legal professions would have major repercussions and there are coherent arguments both for and against it. The most significant advantage for the general public is that it would be considerably cheaper; instead of having to pay for both a solicitor and a barrister, clients would only have to pay fees for one lawyer. Michael Zander demonstrates this concept well, “To have one taxi meter running is less expensive than to have two.” Expenses for the Legal Aid fund would be dramatically reduced by £1m per year, as suggested by the Legal Aid Scrutiny Report. Solicitors ...

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