It is sometimes suggested that it is common for unrepresented litigants to ‘lawyer shop’ by repeatedly instructing then sacking lawyers when they become unhappy with the advice or service they receive. We have some evidence relevant to this. There were no cases involving unrepresented litigants that interspersed periods of non-representation with more than one period of representation (multiple representation) suggesting that ‘lawyer shopping’ interspersed with periods of non-representation is rare. We did notice in passing that there were some family cases involving wholly represented parties who changed their lawyers, sometimes several times, but because these cases did not involve periods of non-representation we did not collect detailed information on them.
Reporting on Criminal Legal Aid:
Some clients changed solicitors during the conduct of their cases for reasons that were not always from the file. There are many potential reasons for such changes. Some clients seek alternative representation after charge if they have a firm they usually instruct, or if a different firm is recommended to them subsequently, particularly if they are novices (NE/9). Alternatively, a client might develop a grievance with the handling, or the result, of their case and instruct a new firm either to take over matters or to initiate an appeal. Conflict of interests between co-defendants might arise, requiring one or more of them to seek alternative representation.
A change of solicitor requires authority for a transfer of legal aid and not all requests are granted. Within the sample files, there were a number of instances where judges refused to transfer legal aid. Nevertheless, it was indicated that there had been a change of solicitor in 14.2% of all files containing sufficient information. 13.1% of files had been transferred from another solicitors
Suggests that clients will be more inclined to shop around in the future. Page 16