Britain and Ireland, what’s a solicitor?
I’m watching a show on Netflix from Northern Ireland and this lady’s job is listed as a solicitor which apparently is a good job. Here in the US a solicitor is someone who sells things door to door that is really annoying and may be illegal now. But apparently this lady had a well paying job with clients and it sounded important. What is it?
- CliveLv 72 years agoFavorite Answer
She's a lawyer, so of course it's a good job. If you need a lawyer in the UK (which includes Northern Ireland), you go to a solicitor, and they can do just about everything legal for you. And like lawyers everywhere, they specialise because there's just so much law. So just think "lawyer" next time you watch and it'll make sense.
However, the one thing solicitors cannot do, for historical reasons, is represent you in court above the lowest level. So if you end up involved in a criminal court case in the Crown Court rather than before magistrates, or a civil case that has to go to the High Court because it's too big for the county court, your solicitor needs to find you a barrister as well. (Or in Scotland, an advocate.) Unfortunately this means you end up paying for both of them.
If you see a British lawyer in a movie or TV show wearing white bow tie, white bands under the tie, black gown and a short horsehair wig, that's a barrister, and they HAVE to wear this in the higher courts or they are officially invisible. LOL when I did jury service, it was a very hot August and the judge gave permission for wigs off - no doubt he was feeling sweaty under HIS wig too. Solicitors don't robe.
So in any criminal case where the possible sentence is less than 6 months' imprisonment, or civil case that involves suing for less than £50,000, a solicitor can handle it in court for you whatever all the other ignorant answerers think. It's only above that level that you need a barrister. Not surprisingly there are FAR more solicitors around than barristers. Look around in a British town and you will find solicitors' offices, that's where you go if you need a lawyer, but none for barristers. Until recently, you couldn't find your own barrister, you have to get your solicitor to hire one for you. Most still aren't licensed to take cases directly from clients.
One small oddity - only the High Court can handle wills and divorce, so if that's going to be a fight, you need a barrister. But probating a will is just paperwork unless someone challenges its validity, and normally divorcing couples will sort out an agreement between themselves so the divorce can go though the "quickie" procedure (which just involves the judge formally granting the divorce without the couple having to be there), so no barrister needed.
Fun fact time - 97% of criminal cases in English law can be dealt with in magistrates' court as the sentence will be less than 6 months. Of course this includes all the small stuff, traffic fines and the like. The court has no jury, only a district judge or a bench of three volunteer magistrates. Solicitors can handle that. I KNOW - been there, seen it. Only the other 3% go to Crown Court for the full wigs and gowns affair and a jury trial. So it is a total lie to say that a solicitor can't represent you in court - most of the time they DO.
- David 14Lv 72 years ago
- Anonymous2 years ago
Northern Ireland is part of "Britain" ie The UK..Lawyers...
- John PLv 72 years ago
In the UK etc a "solicitor" is a basic law person, probably equivalent to a "lawyer" in the USA. You need law qualifacaati9ons in the British law system to work as a solicitor in the UK. Likewise Irish qualifications for the Republic of Ireland.
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- Anonymous2 years ago
Soliciting is prostitution.
- WilliamLv 72 years ago
A barrister, lawyer in the U.S.
- KiniLv 72 years ago
In Britain a solicitor is a lawyer who does everything except represent you at trial. That is a barrister.
- 2 years ago
The UK legal system has tow types of attorneys, barristers (attorneys who practice before the bar, e.g. try cases in court) and solicitors (attorneys whose practice does not include appearances in court)
- u_bin_calledLv 72 years ago
In the English system a "solicitor" is a lawyer who specializes in non-courtroom activities.... negotiating business deals, reviewing contracts, preparing legal documents etc. A lawyer who presents cases in court is called a "barrister."