The Solicitor - Client relationship
The relationship between a client and a solicitor is an important one, and it involves both sides knowing about, understanding and accepting what is involved. For example, the solicitor needs to have a deep understanding of the client’s case and objectives. The client, in turn, needs to be aware of what work the solicitor will undertake (and what is not included). In CLAO, we want to ensure that clients have a full understanding, not just about their case, but about what the solicitor can and cannot do, and this will be explained to them at the outset by the solicitor. Solicitors will provide advice and legal services throughout the case in accordance with instructions given by the client, but solicitors will only be prepared to accept instructions which are not contrary to their professional advice, opinion and judgement
Terms of engagement
The normal way that solicitors establish the main terms of the relationship between the solicitor and the client is by a Letter of Engagement which contains the main terms of the important aspects of the solicitor’s service, and which the client is asked to accept at the outset of instructing the solicitor. To see a sample of our Letter of Engagement click here.
All forms of legal aid require an application. The legal aid application can only be made once you have a solicitor who has confirmed that they are willing to represent you under legal aid. Where legal aid is granted, the legal work can then take place. Where legal aid is not granted, or is withdrawn or no longer available to you for any reason, the solicitor may no longer be in a position to undertake further work for you. The solicitor will explain the application process and the work covered by legal aid to you.
Service Standard and Complaints
All solicitors require to have procedures for handling complaints. CLAO has a guidance leaflet issued to every service user at the outset of their involvement with the service. We also have Standards of Service which our clients can expect. In the event that a service user has a complaint, we have procedures for this depending on whether we have acted as solicitors for the service user or not. If you wish to make a complaint and are unsure which procedure applies, please contact us.
Click here for the complaints procedure for clients for whom we have acted as solicitor under legal aid and for other service users.