Legal advice - when might you need it?
When we hear the term “legal advice”, most of us think about contentious situations, like:
- Disputes with an employer or former partner
- Involvement in accidents
- Being accused of a crime
Fortunately these situations are rare but there are many occasions where we need advice to ensure we are acting in our best interests from a legal perspective. These include:
- When buying a property
- Making a will
- Dealing with taxes
- Setting up a business
If you have any legal issue which you need a legal expert to help you with, call us and we can recommend a specialist solicitor for your particular case to assist you.
The basis of UK law
Throughout the UK, laws are categorised and justice administered under the dual system of criminal law and civil law.
- Criminal law – enforced throughout the UK by the police and the court system. Less serious crimes are tried in the magistrates’ court, and serious crimes in the Crown Courts
- Civil law – distinction must be made between civil law of England and Wales, civil law in Scotland and civil law in Northern Ireland. Civil cases are usually a means for people to settle disputes with other people, companies or organisations. These cases can often be settled out of court using dispute resolution schemes such as mediation, arbitration and the ombudsman system
Certain UK laws have their foundations in European law. European conventions apply throughout the EU, but each EU member state must introduce their own laws based on these conventions in order for them to apply in that country.
Human rights law is one area which is based fundamentally on a European convention. Interestingly, since the UK has no written constitution, this is one of the only areas where the rights of citizens are written into law.
Using a solicitor
It is normally best to speak to a solicitor when you need legal advice. Solicitors have to undergo an intensive academic and work-based training programme lasting several years and are subject to on-going training requirements throughout their career.
Most solicitors offer an initial consultation service at a relatively low cost. This might be enough to resolve your legal problem or questions. Where more complex work is needed, solicitors charge based on the time spent and any costs they incur on your behalf, such as court fees.
In all cases, solicitors are required to explain their fees and other costs to you, and if and when these are likely to change.
You can be assured that in nearly all cases you are dealing with someone who is an expert in the legal area in question. Solicitors are required to abide by high standards of competence, professionalism and confidentiality.
If you are unhappy with the service you receive you can complain to the Solicitors Regulation Authority who will, if necessary, take sanctions including removing a solicitor´s license to practice.
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