One burning question at the start of 2015 for solicitors and lawyers from Scotland to Plymouth is whether solicitors should be able to lend money to their clients to pay their own fees. This means potentially free legal services for those that lose on a no-win no-fee basis. The issue is flagged in the Law Culture of Scotland but is being debated across England and London, the law capital of the UK.
Worried by future cuts to legal, the solicitors’ body thinks such credit ratings might assist to fund civil court actions which would not otherwise occur. These include divorce law and family law issues as well as employment law and affect divorce solicitors and employment law solicitors.
Its proposal, mooted as component of a wider as part of a wider conversation paper on the future of lawful aid has sparked a backlash from frontline practitioners who are afraid prospective conflicts of passion.
Writing in today’s Herald, employment regulation specialist Stephen Smith of The Glasgow Regulation Method, said: “Lawyers have the tendency to comply with clients when they are likely to be dismayed, embarrassed, or at a reduced ebb economically – that has the tendency to be when they are most in need of sound lawful suggestions.
Mr Smith recommends any type of variety of situations when a lawyer could find his/her passions in getting their practice’s funding back may not coincide with the interests of his or her client.
He creates: “Under the reforms proposed, think of a lawyer has “lent” (i.e. gambled) his or her company’s cash for the fees to the client, possibly even laid the hearing fee of £ 1200 too, and victories the case. Suppose what takes place if the employer does not pay and folds?
“If the Regulation Culture’s goal was to add to a system where just companies will have lawyers representing them, than their proposals are definitely great.”
Mark Thorley, convener of the Legislation Culture of Scotland civil legal aid committee and one of the discussion paper’s authors, stressed that funding was already readily available for clients.
He said such a financing mechanism can be anticipated to assist those struck by just what most in the industry expect to be unavoidable cuts in lawful aid. This would have possible ramifications for a specialist employment law solicitor that works with employment tribunals or legal disputes between employers and employees.
Mr Thorley said: “If eligibility levels for lawful aid are to be decreased, with public financing targeted on individuals who are least able to pay, we should guarantee that budget-friendly choices stay as an option to lawful aid”.
“Lawful insurance policy and funding schemes currently exist and we assume these could be increased to assist individuals who are not eligible for legal aid. These are frequently provided by third party organisations or via an associated company so would not have an effect on the relationship between a client and their solicitor.
The Regulation Society has additionally propose a state-funded financing system – and states it would like to view a protected financing model developed for Scotland’s network of law centres. However, they were not excited by the paper’s recommendation to remove massive areas of regulation from legal aid, including financial-only divorce, home disagreements, personal injury cases, debt, violation of contract and employment legislation. A divorce solicitor in Enfield, London might also be able to loan the cost of action to a client for it to be paid back later if the plans become reality.
This means that online marketing would become more important for lawyers who can compete to win clients based on their method of payment. Websites would need to be updated to include pages about how to pay, financing options available and extra interest to companies that achieve a first page on Google listing as they are likely to win more clients through better online marketing visibility.