There are many laws to protect you and help you sort out disputes and problems you may have with people or organisations. These could be problems with your home, your partner or your job.
Of course, many problems can be sorted out simply by talking to the person or people involved. But you may want help from a professional with expert knowledge of the law to help you.
This might be, for example if:
- you've been injured in an accident that you think someone was responsible for
- your landlord is trying to force you to leave your home
- a company you owe money to is harassing you
- you want to divorce your husband or wife.
What kinds of legal adviser are there?
Legal advisers are people who are trained in the law - usually a particular area of law - to help you. There are many types of legal adviser, including Consumer Law Solicitors, Legal Executives and Barristers. Using a legal adviser does not mean that your problem will be decided in a courtroom and you don't have to be wealthy or have a very complicated problem to use one. They are there to help you understand your rights, and to use the law to solve your problem. They will do this in a way that gets you the best result as quickly as possible.
How do I find a legal adviser?
The right legal adviser for you is a person who knows about your type of problem and can deal with it in a way you want. Several organisations can help you find advisers who are specialists for example, the Community Legal Service, your union, the Law Society and Citizens Advice.
How should I approach an adviser?
Once you have the name of an adviser who deals with your type of problem, you should phone them and ask for an initial interview, which will probably be for about 15 minutes. Many advisers offer an initial interview for free - but check first.
You should make sure that:
- they have the right expertise and experience for your problem
- you feel comfortable working with them
- they will offer you value for money.
What should I do when I meet an adviser?
To make sure you choose the right adviser, you need to make the most of your initial interview. So go prepared. Take with you copies of any letters or documents about the problem including any court papers. Your adviser should cover the following points and if they don't, ask them:
- your options for sorting out your problem ' especially if they can't sort it out for you
- your chances of getting the result you want
- how long they think your case will take
- whether your problem can be sorted out without going to court
- whether you can get legal aid or other options for funding your case
- what you may have to pay if you lose
- who will be handling your case (if it is not the adviser you are speaking to)
- what to do if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving
- they should be able to give you an estimate of the cost of the work on your case.
Make sure you are happy with the way they have answered your questions and confident they have understood your problem before you appoint them.
What should I expect from an adviser?
When you employ an adviser you will probably have another, longer meeting to discuss your case. After any meetings with your adviser you should make sure you know what you need to do next, for example, providing any more information or documents, and what your adviser will do next. You should also know if there are any key dates or deadlines and when your adviser will call or meet you again. Your adviser must follow professional rules, including keeping information you provide private and confidential. You must tell them everything about your case so they can make sure you get the best result at the lowest cost.
What can I do if I'm not happy with my adviser?
If something goes wrong or you're unhappy with the service you've received, complain to the adviser, or their firm. They should be able to give you a copy of a complaints procedure and tell you where you can complain if you are not happy with the firm's response.
Please be aware that this is not legal advice and if you are concerned about any of the issues mentioned you should speak to a lawyer.
Call our Consumer Law Solicitors on freephone 0808 175 8000 or contact us online.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers is one of the UK's largest and well known law firms with offices in Newcastle, London, Manchester, Ashton-Under Lyne, Liverpool, Chester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Preston, Wakefield and Wrexham.