For criminal work, yes, an accused person needs a solicitor. That is also the position with civil work , most individuals involved in civil litigation will also need to employ a solicitor in the first instance. However, there are certain, professionals, organisations, groups or bodies that can instruct our members directly. The Faculty of Advocates website has more details:
Our members are delighted to accept both private client and legal aid work. The majority of members’ cases are funded by the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
With legal aid work rates are fixed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board, so that is not an issue to be concerned with.
Where private fees are involved, rates will depend on the work undertaken and there are numerous factors including the length of any case, the preparation involved, the complexity of the issues raised, the seniority and experience of the advocate engaged and possibly travel in some circumstances, to take into account. Our Practice Manager should be contacted in the first instance for an informal discussion on the level of fees that members may charge in each case and come to a binding agreement with you before any work is commenced.
We know it can be frustrating for solicitors on occasion when they find themselves waiting an inordinate amount of time for written work to be returned to them by certain advocates. We see no reason why that should ever be the case. Therefore our Practice Manager will endeavour to have any piece of written work back with you within a period of time agreed with you.
If the advocate you have instructed becomes unavailable for any reason then our Practice Manager will find a suitable alternative for you even if that alternative is a member of another stable. If you specifically instruct that the work go to someone outside our group that again will present no problem whatsoever. Our staff have regular interaction and good relations with staff employed in other stables and through them you will be provided with your choice of representation.
There is a cross referencing of all our advocates with areas of practice on this website which makes it easy for you to identify who does what, but if you are in any doubt or need any assistance whatsoever please just speak to our admin staff and they will be able to advise you.
Although we are based in Glasgow and much of our work is in this area, our advocates are regularly instructed to cover cases the length and breadth of the country and are happy to go anywhere that is required of them to provide a proper and efficient service to their clients.