June 22nd, 2016
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) wants to know what people think about changes it’s planning to the way solicitors offer their services. The SRA believes the changes will help make solicitors easier to afford and access.
One in ten people think about paying for legal advice but then don’t go ahead, mainly because they decide they can’t afford it, reports YouGov.
The SRA wants to let solicitors offer legal services even if they don’t work in a regulated law firm, and thinks this change could help lower prices.
The type of business a solicitor works in may affect the level of protection their clients have when things go wrong. That’s one reason the SRA’s plans also aim to help solicitors understand their duty to offer services that meet very high standards.
Paul Phillip, SRA Chief Executive, said:
“Our focus has to be on high professional standards set independently in the public interest. That can only be good for the profession and for the public.
“Some of the current rules are out of step with a legal market that is rapidly changing. We plan to give solicitors more freedom to work outside regulated firms. That will give the public more choice, increasing access to high quality legal services at a price they can afford.
“Our proposals for a shorter, sharper and clearer Handbook will free up law firms and individual solicitors to get on with the business of delivering quality legal services, while making sure there is absolute clarity about public protection.”
A public consultation on the SRA’s proposals runs until 21 September 2016.
Have your say
The SRA would like to hear from members of the public, consumer groups and others.
Do you believe the SRA’s changes would help you access a solicitor? Do you have any concerns about the changes?
To learn more, or to respond to the consultation, visit the SRA’s website. You can also add your comments below.
April 29th, 2016
Moving house is one of the most stressful things we ever do in life.
When moving house there are legal tasks to take care of.
Nearly two out of three people put moving house at the top of their stress list, recent research by energy company E.On shows.
And it’s not just the prospect of broken crockery or re-directing your post. The legal side of moving (known as conveyancing) can be just as stressful.
With any house move, there are important legal tasks to complete:
• planning permission checks
• securing land deeds
• agreeing and exchanging contracts
Lots of us opt to get help from a lawyer to take care of these things.
Sometimes things can go wrong with your lawyer
Even when you use a lawyer, things can go wrong. Conveyancing is the most complained-about area of legal practice in England and Wales, accounting for nearly one quarter of all complaints received last year by the Legal Ombudsman.
Common complaints about lawyers
• Failing to advise people properly
• Delaying the conveyancing process
• Providing poor information about the cost of the legal work
You have the right to complain to your lawyer. If this doesn’t help, you have the right to talk to the Legal Ombudsman about your situation. The Ombudsman has powers to put things right.
How to avoid problems with your lawyer
There are practical things you can do to try to avoid problems with lawyers:
• take some time to check the plans of the new house yourself
• explain clearly any particular concerns you’ve got right from the start
Houses and common legal issues
If you’re thinking about taking your first step on to the property ladder, the Legal Ombudsman has created a handy guide called ‘On the move – a guide for first-time buyers‘. It can help you get your head around the legal side of things, and offers tips on what to look out for when a lawyer starts your conveyancing work.
Learn more about common legal issues with houses:
• Buying or selling a house
• Landlord with a legal issue
June 8th, 2015
How many carers do you know?
There are 6.5 million carers in the UK, so chances are you know someone who is one, or you may be one yourself.
8 – 14 June is National Carer’s Week, and an opportunity to highlight the daily challenges carers can face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities.
Day in, day out carers help people who need support the most to live their lives. Depending on the situation this can be helping people for a short period of time, if for example a friend is ill, right through to supporting a family member who needs 24 hour care.
As well as providing physical support some carers also become someone that speaks out on behalf of the person they are caring for, to make sure their rights are upheld.
This can include legal problems, and times when a legal solution is needed to help protect someone that is being cared for. Examples include powers of attorney, wills, family trusts, protection orders, discrimination issues, and benefit challenges.
Like any legal situation though, it can be hard to know who to talk to, and where to start.
To mark National Carer’s Week, Legal Choices has updated our help page for carers, which has ideas and facts about some of the ways to help carers get advice and support with legal problems.
For information about National Carer’s Week you can visit the website – www.carersweek.org.