Most of us need expert legal help at some time in our lives. Some of the most common issues are to do with buying a house, getting a divorce or making a will. But you might also need help if you are setting up home with your partner, starting your own business or organising an older person's finances.
The law can be complicated so it's important to get the best advice you can. Solicitors are the experts when it comes to the law and how it affects you. So for legal advice that you can rely on, contact a solicitor.
See the Citizens Advice Bureau's guidance on using a legal advisor
See the Solicitors Regulation Authority's guidance on finding and using a solicitor
The benefits of using a solicitor include:
- They are thoroughly trained and rigorously tested in their knowledge of the law.
- They have to abide by a professional code of conduct.
- They have insurance - professional indemnity insurance - in case something goes wrong.
- They are regulated by an independent body (the SRA) to ensure that they act in an ethical and professional manner.
- They will probably have dealt with the same or a very similar issue to the one you have, so will have experience in how to handle the situation.
You have the right to speak for yourself in court without a solicitor or other legal professional.
You may choose to do this because:
- you think it's better to talk directly to the judge, jury or magistrates yourself
- you can't afford to pay legal fees
If you're considering representing yourself because you can't afford legal costs, check if you can get legal aid instead.
See our page on legal aid
Bear in mind that representing yourself can be a lengthy and complicated procedure, for which you will need to do a lot of preparation. Using a solicitor is preferable because they will take care of this for you.