Instructing a Solicitor

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Before going to see a solicitor check that they are experienced in dealing with your type of case. Don't be afraid to ask about their level of experience. Check whether they offer a free initial interview.

If you require any special service, for example you need an interpreter or require disabled access to the building let the solicitor know when you make your appointment so that arrangements can be made. The Equality Act 2010 actually places an obligation on solicitors not to discriminate against disabled clients.
 
When seeing a solicitor make sure you take with you on your first appointment all documents which are relevant to your case or any information about your case which might help. For example:
 
  • Proof of your identity, such as a passport - this is to comply with money laundering regulations.
  • The name and address of your opponent.
  • Evidence supporting any money claim you are making etc.
  • If your case involves a Divorce take your marriage certificate with you.
Take with you proof of your income or proof of entitlement to benefits as this will help your solicitor to decide if you are eligible for Legal Help Advice or Public Funding.
 
Take with you the name and address of any solicitors who have acted for you previously, as your solicitor may need to write to them for your papers. If you have previously had a Public Funding Certificate then take a copy of the certificate with you, (if you still have it).
 
If your case involves an accident you should where possible take pictures of where the accident happened or draw a sketch plan to take to your solicitor.
 
If during your case your solicitor asks you for further information you should provide this as quickly as you can so that there is no delay in dealing with your case and your solicitor can keep to the court timetable.
 
Once you have instructed a solicitor you should make sure that any letters written to you by your opponent are sent to your solicitor. You should not enter into any agreement or make any decisions which might affect your case without discussing this with your solicitor first.
 
If there are any important dates when you know you will not be available or if you plan to go on holiday you must let your solicitor know in plenty of time, as this may affect any hearing date.
 
If you are not happy with the level of service that you receive from your solicitor you should first follow the firm's complaints procedure, (if they have one). This will usually involve taking your complaint to a partner in the firm who will investigate your complaint.
 
If you are unhappy with the response you can write to the Legal Services Ombudsman at the following address:
 
Legal Services Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ
0300 555 0333 or 0121 245 3050
email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
www.legalombudsman.org.uk
 

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