What is a solicitor advocate?
Rather than being, as some imagine, the latest flavour of Dutch cream liqueur, a solicitor advocate is a solicitor who has acquired higher rights of audience, meaning that they can represent their clients in a wider range of courts than most solicitors. Solicitor advocates have appeared in cases all the way up to House of Lords (now the Supreme Court) level.
So what is the difference between a solicitor advocate and a barrister?
Solicitor advocates are tireless workhorses providing a modern “cradle-to-grave” service to their clients, which encompasses every aspect of their requirements, from the first meeting through to resolution of their case at trial and beyond.
Barristers are self-employed free-spirits, able to do written and oral advocacy.
Yes. All the legal work carried in our offices is carried out by solicitors with whom you will have direct contact at all times. All solicitors in private practice must hold a Practising Certificate issued by the Law Society. Amongst other things this ensures that, in the unlikely event that anything should go wrong, there is insurance to protect you.
No. You can find out about the firms in the area you could approach by viewing the Community Legal Service website at www.justask.org.uk.
No. We are a traditional firm. We charge fair and reasonable fees for the work we do. Subject to many exceptions, if you are involved in a successful claim against a third party you can expect to recover most of your costs. Of course, there can be no guarantee but we would not take on a case that we do not consider has good prospects of success.
If we have not acted for you before, or even if we have but do not yet have identification evidence for you, you will need to bring to your first interview (1) your passport or modern driving licence with a photograph and (2) a domestic utility account or bank statement showing your current address. We have to have this to comply with very strict anti-money laundering regulations.
According to the urgency of your legal business, you can expect to have an appointment within a matter of days. Naturally, in urgent cases our solicitors will be able to see you out of normal office hours.
Charges vary quite substantially between different firms of solicitors for different types of work. Experience and expertise of the solicitor and the complication of the work are crucial factors. By special arrangement we would not charge for the first, short, interview when we would weigh up what is involved in your case. At this stage neither you or our firm would be under any obligation. It is very important however at that stage that both you and we know of the kind of cost your case might involve. You can expect us to provide information about this but, in any event, you should ask. Terms of business including about the cost will be confirmed in writing. Please see “Our Fees” for details.
Yes, we regard it as important that you can speak directly to the solicitor handling your case. Of course, he or she will not always be immediately available but other staff in the office will take a message for you and your call will be returned. Only exceptionally would this not be possible on the same day.