Reports that there are too many solicitors for the volume and value of work available. This is justified as follows:
1. Declining productivity of the profession (measuring productivity as fee income per fee earner, where in a rising market a decrease in productivity suggests that work is being divided further amongst more people.
2. Salary expectations have rising in line with student debt, meaning that the cost of a highly qualified practitioner salary cant be justified in some areas of work and in some locations.
3. Increase in standardised elements of professional work, reducing the amount of work that requires ‘intellectual firepower and virtuosity’. Page 3
A small number of large law firms operate in a highly competitive market acting for predominantly commercial clients. This leaves about 9,500 law firms and 38,000 solicitors in smaller firms – an average of just 4 solicitors per firm. – Page 2
This supply side fragmentation causes three problems: 1 Costs of establishment becomes replicated which on aggregate drives up the costs of legal services; 2. smaller firms used qualified lawyers which gives rise to a perception that more expense ifs built into the system where lawyers are used; 3. Suppliers of work have to deal with a large number of firms increasing their costs. Page 2
Some key regulatory demarcations between barristers and other professions summarised (page 74/99 – 78/103). Summarises attempts to allow other legal professions to enter into legal market (page 120/145 onwards) previously referred to other branches of lawyers’ market. Summary table of professions’ split in tabular form (page 133/158onwards).
Background to reserved activities
Rights of audience pages 6 – 17
Conduct of Litigation pages 17-21
Reserved instrument activities – pages 22 – 25 (including Farms exemption)
Probate activities – pages 26 – 28
Notarial activities – pages 28 – 30
Administration of Oaths – pages 30 – 33
Regulated but not Reserved activities – Immigration, Claims management, and Insolvency pages 34 – 35
Non regulated activities -
Activities that currently fall into this regulatory gap include those that could potentially seriously affect the lives of the people involved. Examples of work that does not have to be undertaken by a qualified and therefore regulated lawyer include: advice and representation provided at a police station; assistance with non-contentious employment issues such as discrimination in the workplace; and advice about mental health issues and detention. It is arguable that the consequences of incorrect or inexperienced advice in these situations could be equally as grave as in the improper provision of a reserved legal activity (and in some cases, even more so) – Page 36
Summary of origin of reserved activities – pages 46-47
Summarises existing rules that hinder direct access to barristers (page 2).
Compares training routes for solicitors and barristers in tabular form (page 81), and then discusses how the routes came into existence. Further discussion on differences in vocational training between sols and barristers (page 97).
Summarises the history of solicitor / barrister split (page 52 – 53).
covers history of liberalisation of different types of lawyers – i.e. licensed conveyancers (page 11).
There are 6 Circuits in England and Wales (Western, North Eastern, Northern, South Eastern, Wales and Chester and Midland) and there is a 7th which is not focused on England and Wales (European). All but the seventh are of ancient lineage. In the 10th century King Edgar administered justice by travelling the Circuits. Information collected for the Doomsday Book was collected along similar geographical lines which bear at least some resemblance to the later, more formal, judicial Circuits. By the accession of Henry VII in 1485 there were 7 main Circuits which bear a significant resemblance to the modern-day Circuits of England and Wales. From then onwards successive monarchs and Lord Chancellors tinkered with the number and geographic boundaries of the Circuits. The make-up of the modern Circuits emanates from the Beeching Commission conclusions in 1969 with some modifications (for example, Oxford has been moved from the Midland Circuit to the South Eastern Circuit). The Circuits play an important role not only in the administration of justice but also in the life of the Bar. The vast majority of Circuit Judges and a good many High Court Judges have been active Circuit members and Circuit Leaders. The Judiciary and other Government agencies liaise frequently on common issues with the Circuits. Closer to home the Circuits provide a conduit for the Bar Council with the Circuit Leaders and other Circuit representatives feeding information in and out. Circuit Leaders play an integral role in the Bar Council, on the GMC and in advising and working with each successive Chairman. Page 78
covers the Courts and Legal Services Act, which allowed solicitors to achieve higher court rights of audience (page 7)
Explains supply side segmentation between solicitors and barristers – regulatory liberalisation process (page 11 – 12)
Historically, partnership has been the professional badge of honour. It was the assumed route for any solicitor of a certain level of experience. Consequently owners of many law firms have tended to be technically proficient but entrepreneurially deficient. They have viewed their role as being to provide legal services to clients rather than to build and run a business. Decision take too long, and are often based on self interest and self preservation rather than the best interests of the firm as a whole and its clients.
Thus too many law firms have partners… who are being subsidised by other activities and people and again drive up cost of legal services beyond the level at which efficient businesses would be able to provided them.
It is true that many firms are facing up to the implications of underperforming partners and beginning to grasp the nettle. But an inevitable consequence of this is that with fewer equity partners, law firms might find it more difficult to raise enough capital or debt to resource their practices.
Against this background litigation becomes an expensive service because the business vehicles for delivering dispute resolution services are themselves over laden with costs. Pages 1 & 2.
ILEX wants its members who work for the CPS and are registered Associate Prosecutors to have the right to conduct litigation and have rights of audience (page 2). CBA opposes further extension of rights (page 3).
List examples of when barristers must be instructed (at time of report) page 26. 40% of solicitors surveyed said that court requirements was a determining factor in decision to use a barrister (see table on page 28). Barristers rarely used for advice in criminal cases (page 28) but used much more extensively in relation to advocacy (page 29). Then discusses uses of solicitor advocates (pages 30 – 31).
Regulation – licensed conveyancers first arose in the 1980s (page 797).