Do I have to have a solicitor for legal advice?

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  3. Do I have to have a solicitor for legal advice?

No, you don’t have to use a solicitor in order to get legal advice.  Here are our top tips for how you can get advice from alternative sources.

McKenzie Friends

One alternative is to use a McKenzie Friend.  McKenzie Friends are not necessarily legally qualified but charge a lot less than solicitors.  They can help you to prepare your case and your paperwork and accompany you to court.  Unlike a solicitor, they cannot advocate for you in court.  There are many McKenzie Friends advertising their services online  An example is Deborah Nelson Family Law whose website has domestic abuse templates, children templates, financial application templates, position statement templates, videos and books. She offers online appointments.

Direct Access Barristers

Direct access (also known as Public access) enables you to instruct a barrister yourself rather than going to a solicitor first. Normally you would instruct a solicitor who would choose and instruct the barrister on your behalf. It should be more cost effective as there is no duplication of work as there can be if you are paying both a solicitor and a barrister, although it means that you will have to do some of the work the solicitor would normally do, yourself.  The barrister can:

  • Represent you in court or in a tribunal or other disciplinary hearings;
  • Provide you with expert legal advice;
  • Assist you to draft correspondence;
  • Help you to draft statements;
  • They can help you reach a voluntary agreement with the other parent over the arrangements for your child but, if court action is required, as barristers, they can provide the experienced representation you need for every stage of the proceedings.

You will have to do some of what the solicitor would normally do by gathering and organising the evidence so that the barrister can understand the case and help you turn it into a statement or chronology.  ONRECORD is designed to help with exactly this task, making it easier for you to save money and time (click here to sign up now).

Examples of direct access barrister services are:

For more family law advice, read more from the  family law advice hub.