In the UK legal system their are two types of lawyers; solicitor and barrister,after a certain amount of years of experience if you want to you can apply to become a judge, if accepted you start from the bottom of the heirachy system and eventually as you gain more years of experience you get higher in the ranking. Keywords: UK, solicitors, barristers, judiciary, prosecutors, high court, superior and inferior judges, bar examinations.
In this project we will look at how the two types of lawyers in the uk are appointed what kinds of legal education they have to go throught, if they have to do bar examinations and overall how many years it would take them to be a fully qualifed solicitor or barrister, then we will look at judiciary appointments and see the process of this and the differences of superior and inferior judges. To become a fully qualified solicitor you have to go through a few steps, but first we need to understand what a solicitor does. A solicitor: * Gives legal advice.
* Represents clients in the court * Administrative work for the case (evidence,documents, interact more with clients) To become a solicitor the first step is have a law degree if you have a undergraduate degree you must go through a CPA for one year or also known as Common Proffesional Exam, once you have completd this you must attend the Legal Practice Course (LPC), this is a one year course that gives you the skills neccessary for the profeesion e. g drafting documents, how to interview clients, how to keep client accounts seperate.
After this is completed you have to do two years traning (apprentice) so bascially you work under the supervision of a qualified solicitor, once this is finished you are a fully qualified solicitor which now has a better advantage than before. Until 1990 solicitors could only represent clients in the magistrates court and county courts, if on appeal the case would go to a high court the solicitor would have to pass the case to a barrister who would have limited time to get familiar with the case and client. But this has changed by the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 and the Access To Justice Act 1999.
Solicitors now have rights of audience in all of the courts in the UK. When solictors are working alone they have more of a general knowledge of all areas of law but if they work in a law firm they may specialise in a specific area. What if the client ain’t happy with their solicitor? their is a contract between the client and solicitor if their is any problems (e. g if the client feels like that the solicitor has not fulfilled obligations) the client has right to sue under contract law but they can also sue under tort law(negligence).
The second type of lawyer in the UK is a Barrister which job is to similar to solictors but not exactly the same their job is to : * Give legal advice * Represent clients in court * Prepare pleadings * Write legal opinions * Take over a case if it is to advanced for a soliciotor or if it lays in his area of expertise Usually barristers specialise in an area of law e. g criminal law, family law, tort law, land law etc... Barristers work in chambers usually a group of 15-20 qualified barristers, also most barrister have a barrister clerk who deals with the work load of the barrister.
Before we talk about how a barrister is appointed lets go through the stages step by step to become a qualified barrrister. Usually a degree in law is needed but if you have a different undergraduate you must do a conversion course, this is a one year course of the main legal fields. The second step is the bar proffesional traning course (BPTC) this is a one year course giving you the skills needed for the profession. The third step is probably the most important stage you have to become a member of the Inns of Court in London and must attend 12 dinners there, this is to learn the ettiquete of the profession e.g teaching you how to speak, how to present yourself.
This also gives you the oppurtunity to meet fellow training barristers and other qualified barrister. If you graduate from the Inns of Court you are called to the bar but you are not fully qualified yet, you must attend one last stage called pupillage; this is when you work as an apprentince to a qualified barrister, for the first 6 months you ‘shadow’ the barrister, the second 6 months are spent practising doing work barrister do under supervision and finally at the end of a pupillage you are a qualified barrister.
How are barrister appionted? It used to be that a barrister could only be appointed through a solicitor but this was big disadvantage to the client who would have to pay for a solicitor and the barrister so in 2004 the rules changedwith the public accessrules which allows a client to directly appoint a barrister, but their are some conditions, Section 2 of the Public Access Rule: * The barrister must have 3 years experience or more.
* Must be registered as a public access barrister * The barrister must have access and make sure that it is in the best interests of the client to have direct acess Their is also the Cab Rank Rule, a barrister must take a clients case if: * The case is in his area of expertise * If the barrister is free(don’t have any other case).
In most cases there is no contract between the client and a barrister therefore if the client is unhappy they cannot sue under contract law the client however can sue under tort law this was established in the case of Saif v Sydney Mitchell&Co 1980. The client can also sue the barrister for incorrect advice, barrister can also be sued by the client for incorrect actions in court and this may lead to to a disbarred by the bar council for serious proffesional misconduct.
The Judiciary is the name given judges in the english legal system as a whole, The UK has 3 bodys in is constitution, the Legislative power(Parliament),Executive(Goverment) and The Judiciary(Judges and Courts), In the uk constitution all of these bodies interlock with eachother, now this was a disadvantage so many changes to this topic have occured by the CRA (Constitutional Reform Act 2005) to ensure that the judiciary is independent and provide for ‘seperation of powers’.
In the UK we have different types of judges but their role is the same, judges listen to cases that go before a court, they interpret the law and they apply the law to the facts of the case in the court, obviously this is done in an unbiased way and fair to both parties( in a civil case e. g land law or divorce etc... we have the defendant and claiment, and in a criminal case we have the prosecutor and the defendant. ) Like the court structure the judges are placed in a list of heriachy, superior judges have more authority than inferior judges.
First we will explain the roles of superior and inferior judges then explain how they are appointed. Superior judges * Lord Chancellor – until 2005 was the head of the judiciary ( all of the judges in the UK) and sat in the House of Lords, after the CRA in 2005 the lord chancellor’s role was decreased and he is longer the head of the judiciary this was because “The office of Lord Chancellor has existed for centuries, it has occupied a unique position in the UK constitution in that the incumbent was a member of all three branches of goverment and therefore exercised all three forms of power:legislative; executive; and judicial”.
* Lord Chief Justice – is now the head of the judiciary after the CRA. * Lords of Appeal in Ordinary – are now law lords that sit in the highest court in the UK, the highest court was the House of Lords, in 2005 the CRA created a new Supreme Court and it replaced the House of Lord and so law lords now sit in the Supreme Court. The main reason a new court was created was to ensure that the judiciary is seperate from the Legislative. * Lord Justice of Appeal – sits in court of appeal. * Hight Court Judge – sits in the High Court. Inferior judges.
* Circuit judges – sits in the inferior courts, crowns. * District judges – sits in the County and Magistrates. * Recorders (helps the judges). All judges are well paid to ensure that firstly people are atrracted to the job and secondly so that they are not tempted to accept bribes or have to get another job. What are the qualifications to become a judge, firstly you must be qualified as a barrister or solicitor, before 1990 only barrister could become judges but due to the Courts and Legal Service Act of 1990, both can be judges.
To become a district judge you must be qualified as a barrister or solicitor for at least seven years, to become a circuit judge you must have worked as a district judge for three years or be qualified for 10 years. To be a high court judge you must been a circuit judge for two years or plus ten years after qualifying. To become a Lord Justice of Appeal in the court of appeal, you must have worked as a judge in the high court for 10 years. To become a Law Lord or a Law Lady in the Supreme Court you must have 15 years of experience in a superior court (High Court or Court of Appeal).
Before 2005 the Lord Chancellor was at the time head of the Judiciary would be involved in the selection and the appointment of judges, he would nominate the judges in superior courts and he would officially appoint judges in Inferior Courts Appointments of Judges: * Law Lords – the Lord Chancellor would make a list, he would then give the list to the Prime Minister(PM) and the PM would select one person to be official appointed as a judfge by the queen.
* High Court – positions were advertsied since 1998 from the people who apply, The Lord Chancellor will advice the queen on who to appoint and the will officially appoint them. * Inferior Judges – positions were advertised the people that apple were interviewed by a panel, they would decide make alist and Lord Chancellor would select a a personfrom the list But this was a problem The Lord Chancellor was appointed by the PM who was part of the legislative so it was linked with the judiciary so bascially their was no seperation of power. E.
g if the PM is in the labour political party he would appoint somebody from the same party to be Lord Chancellor and he would pick people the same people to be judges. After the CRA 2005 most judicial selections are made by the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC), they select judges up to and including judges for the Court of Appeal. The JAC is made of 15 people : * 6 Laymembers * 5 Judges * 1 Barrister * 1 Solicitor * 1 Magistrates * 1 Tribural member Process for selecting Circuit, District and High Court Judges happens in four steps : 1.
JAC will be told of vacancies and the neccessary qualifications for the positions. 2. JAC will then advertise the position. 3. Once people have applied for the job the JAC checks the applications and make a list of people with the best qualifications for that job that is vacant. 4. ‘Selection Day’ people who make the short list are invited to this day, they will be interviewed by a panel, they will be given written test aswel(they willl be given a case study and will have to interpret and apply the law to the case. The JAC would also look for these qualities: * Intellectual capacity
* Independence of mind * Authority and ability to communicate 5. After this the JAC will make a selection and pass it onto the Lord Chancellor who can accept or reject, if he does choose to reject he has to give a reason but in most case he accepts. 6. The selected persons name is pasted onto the Queen after being accepted by Lord Chancellor and the queen officially appoints them. Process for the selection of Judges to the Court of Appeal : 1. Position are advertised. 2. The people who apply are analysed by a Special Committee and the Lord Chief Justice 3.
The person picked by the Special Committe and Lord Chief Justice is officially appointed by the queen. Process for selection of Judges for the Supreme Court : 1. Positions are advertised. 2. JAC looks at applications and makes a list who they think is best suited for the job. 3. The JAC will give a list to the Selection Commission. 4. The Selection Commission evaluates all applications and selects a person . 5. This person is then forwarded to Lord Chancellor who again has to accept or reject but very rarely does this and if he does give a reason 6. The chosen one is appointed officially by the Queen.
Another aim of the CRA was the need for a diverse judiciary, they wanted a judiciary that represented the society, different types of people from different backgrounds and not just having judges who are the same type of people with the same backgrounds, so their main aim was trying to make the judiciary a reprensentative of the society which will make it more legitmate. Before this many would criticise the members of the Judiciary as the same old, white, highclass oxford and cambridge graduates hanging around the same type of people, much of the criticism came before the CRA 2005 when judges were selected by the Lord Chancellor.
With the changes in 2005, the selection process is in the hands of an independent body (JAC) who can appoint people who deserve to be in judiciary including women, people of ethnic minority. What happens when a judge acts in a way that he should not? For superior judges they can only be removed from their positions as a judge by a vote in BOTH house of commones and house of lords an example would be Sir Jonah Barring (1830). Inferior judges can be removed by Lord Chancellor for misconduct, what does misconduct mean?
Well it can mean anything from misbehaviour, drink driving to sexual harrasment and racism. The retirement age for a Judge is 70 bug can continue on as long as you have permission. In conclusion I believe the UK judiciary system has a very rich culture of over 800 years and throughout this time they have developed and soaked in their social norms and values and have accepted the way the UK judiciary system has worked and as the country has developed the Judiciary system has adapted and I believe will carry on adapting.