We live in an era where it can sometimes be easier than ever to deceive people and to take short cuts.
The internet has led to as much misinformation as good information for all and unfortunately for the law, we too have not been immune to change.
The difference between a qualified practising solicitor and someone who offers legal advice and sells legal documents is something which needs great clarity for the good of all those living in Staines and beyond.
It may seem that some businesses are pretty much the same as solicitors, and the public might assume that what they receive in terms of legal advice is the same whoever the provider is.
However, disturbingly, an individual without legal training or qualifications may set up a business offering legal services and provide documents on a wide range of legal matters without regulation or standards being monitored.
One particular area where this is a particular issue is will writing and associated services, such as the provision of powers of attorney.
There are no plans to regulate or control those who set up these legal services businesses or the individuals who run them or to monitor the work they do and this is worrying, particularly for those of us who are legally qualified and bound by strict regulations.
What is particularly alarming is this kind of work is often carried out on behalf of the elderly and somewhat vulnerable people.
Solicitors like us, at Dale and Newbery, are highly regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority which is an independent body which regulates the solicitors’ profession. It requires all solicitors to adhere to a code of conduct, to submit to an annual financial audit and to observe regulations for financial control and conduct and fair dealing with clients. They must also undergo continuing education to ensure they are kept up to date in the area of law in which they specialise.
Solicitors must observe all rules and regulations governing the profession.
Furthermore, for the public, there is also an absolute requirement for all solicitors to have full professional indemnity insurance so that in the unlikely event that a solicitor makes a mistake, which causes loss to a client the client is covered.
These regulations don’t apply to the unregulated sector and, amazingly here in 2019, there is no requirement for unregulated legal businesses to have any kind of insurance in place or have sanctions for failures or misconduct.
As solicitors, we must follow mandatory practice rules, especially in relation to elderly clients to ensure that vulnerable people are acting of their own free will and are not being misled. To add to this, solicitors are required to consider and assess the mental capacity of the client to understand the document he or she is signing.
Becoming a qualified solicitor is no easy task, and at least six years are spent in training.
Some non-regulated legal advisers try to belittle the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s tough rules. Of course, most solicitors do not enjoy the restrictions of regulation or the costs to adhere to it. However, we are here to ensure peace of mind for our clients. It is there for the protection of the public and to protect the integrity of our profession.
We hope this will help anyone tempted to cut corners with legal matters to think again. Making a mistake can be costly, especially if there is no one there like the Solicitors Regulation Authority to protect the consumer.
If you would like to talk to us about this or any other legal matter, please don’t hesitate to call us on 01784 464 491 or visit our website https://www.dnlaw.co.uk/