An increasing number of people going through a divorce use unregulated legal services. What does this mean and why does it matter?
Unregulated legal services are legal services offered by a person or organisation which is subject to no formal regulation. Such services may come in many forms and could be online, in person or via the purchase of information packs or forms. The advantage of these services is that they can be cheap but the disadvantages can be significant and many people are unaware of the risks.
Unregulated providers have no professional body to maintain standards and the consequence of this is that if things go wrong, there may be no redress. They may also not hold legal qualifications and it is important to note that the term, “lawyer” is not protected. This means that a person without any qualification is permitted to call themselves a lawyer. In contrast, solicitors are qualified legal professionals who have been subject to training and practical experience and deemed suitable to practise law.
One of the advantages of instructing a solicitor is that they are subject to strict regulation from the Solicitors Regulation Authority and have to meet high client care standards. Further details can be found at: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/. Solicitors have proper complaints procedures and are required to have in place professional indemnity insurance which provides a safety net for their clients. Many solicitors’ firms, ourselves included, are additionally bound by the Resolution Code of Conduct, which can be found here: http://www.resolution.org.uk/code/.
. Solicitors have proper complaints procedures and are required to have in place professional indemnity insurance which provides a safety net for their clients. Many solicitors’ firms, ourselves included, are additionally bound by the Resolution Code of Conduct, which can be found here: http://www.resolution.org.uk/code/.
Family law is a specialist and complicated area where things can easily go wrong, even where matters are agreed. Cases that appear straightforward present their own challenges and require careful drafting of the documentation to avoid unforeseen and unintended consequences, many of which may only become apparent later on. There will often be several ways of formulating a financial settlement and a solicitor can provide advice about the advantages and disadvantages and steer you away from any pitfalls. Where children are concerned, solicitors can help find a solution that is workable and that promotes the children’s best interests.
At Family Law Associates, our overwhelming concern is that people using unregulated legal services may be making life changing decisions with far reaching consequences without the benefit of proper legal advice. Even when a matter might appear simple, it can very easily go wrong. The difficulty is that without legal advice, it really is true that you don’t know what you don’t know.
Be sure that you understand what you are paying for. If you are contemplating a divorce then please do contact us for a fixed fee initial advice appointment so that your position and options are clear to you before you make any significant decisions.