The public would be well advised to educate itself as to the fact that absolutely anyone can describe themselves (and legally trade in business) as a “lawyer”.

That generic phrase does not indicate the holding of any qualifications, competence or ability – and it certainly means that the relevant person involved is NOT authorised nor regulated.

Indeed, former legal professionals (ex-Barristers and ex-Solicitors) – i.e. who are no longer able to practice as such – often resort to using such a ‘job description’.

We (as a firm) have no objection to anyone providing what might be considered legal advice – provided clients know that the person they have hired to (say) write them a ‘Privacy Policy’ is (say) a website designer or copywriter with access to a precedent document – but little (to no?) understanding at all of the relevant law involved in (say) UK/EU data privacy.

Section 12 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (“the LSA”) sets out the (only) six specific legal services activities that only those who are authorised (or those who are exempt) can carry on. These are called “reserved legal activities” and their scope is set out in Schedule 2.

‘Lawyers’ entitled to carry on these activities are regulated by approved regulators in the legal services sector (in our case the Solicitors Regulation Authority or SRA), working under the oversight of the LSB.

A cynic (or is that a realist?) might observe that the relevant reserved activities are where the ‘Great British Public’ has to inter-react with entities that H.M. Govt. effectively funds – e.g. the Court System, the Land Registry and the Probate Registry.

Where your taxes are funding matters – H.M. Govt. has no intention of ‘any old incompetents and/or rogues’ wasting time, effort and taxpayers money – Although, otherwise – you the ‘British Consumer’ are ‘[almost entirely] on your own’ – e.g. if you want to hire a ‘cowboy builder’ – there is very little to stop you.

We do occasionally come across unauthorised (and unregulated) ‘lawyers’ who have been undertaking and/or are continuing to undertake ‘Reserved Legal Activities’ in a manner which is prohibited under the Legal Services Act 2007.

Usually, they approach Solicitors when they reach a stage where they don’t know what next to do and/or they’ve hit a serious problem.

‘This morning’s example was a former Solicitor (who had historically been struck from the role for assorted ‘naughtiness’) who not only had been undertaking the ‘reserved activity’ of the conduct of litigation – but was now being sued in negligence (regarding the sub-optimal way in which he had done so).

In such circumstances – Ask yourself – What does it say about you – if ‘your own lawyer’ is acting illegally?!

Please feel free to discuss any aspects / issues raised in the above post directly with me.


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P. S. The plot of ‘My Cousin Vinny’ = Quite amusing / Other’s experienced circumstances = Not so much . . .