The Legal Profession

  • English legal system has a divided legal profession a lawyer is either a barrister or solicitor
    • they have rights of audience = the right to appear and speak on behalf of their clients in court (= právo na slyšení u soudu)
    • they must obey the rules of conduct of their professional bodies and must meet the prescribed training requirements
      • barristers have to complete pupillage (= apprenticeship to a member of the Bar, which qualifies them to practise law independently; = koncipientská praxe)
      • solicitors have to obtain a higher courts advocacy qualification


  • právní zástupce v obecných věcech
  • characterized as a general practitioner who deals with all kinds of legal problems and gives legal advice
  • they deal with clients directly and are experts in particular areas of law
  • most of them are in private practice or they are sole practitioners
  • they deal with variety of legal problems:
    • help to buy and sell property
    • personal injury claims
    • advice on matrimonial matters, e.g. divorce or financial disputes
    • represent people in court or instruct a barrister to represent them, etc.
  • in civil matters, they appear in the County Court Cases (= soudní hrabství)
  • in criminal matters, they appear in the Magistrate’s Court (= nižší soud)
  • their governing body is the Law Society
    • its key roles are to help, promote, protect, train and advise solicitors
  • Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society
  • their functions are:
    • set standards for qualifying as a solicitor
    • provide legal training
    • monitor the performance of solicitors
    • deal with complaints against solicitors and refer them to the Solicitor’s Disciplinary Tribunal


  • primarily court advocate but they spend more time drafting and writing advice for solicitors
  • they are competent to perform all advocacy for the prosecution or defence in criminal cases and for a claimant or defendant in civil claims
  • they are usually self-employed
  • they are able to:
    • represent a person in court or before a tribunal
    • give legal advice
    • negotiate a settlement
    • investigate and collect evidence
    • draft formal court documents (e. g. witness statement)
    • draft routine legal documents (e. g. wills, contracts, deeds, leases)
  • they can also work as a representative in arbitration and mediation
  • they cannot form partnerships but must act as sole traders with unlimited liability
  • the representative body of barristers is the General Council of the Bar of England and Wales or known as the Bar Council (= advokátní komora)
    • its aim is to promote and maintain excellence on the quality of legal services provided by barristers


  • they are many types of judges
  • they all have the role of managing and deciding cases they deliver and create the law
  • they are drawn from barristers and solicitors – normally top barristers and solicitors
    • it’s also possible for academic lawyers to apply for the post of judge
  • a judge is appointed until the age of 70
  • process of appointing a judge:
    1. advertisement in national press, legal press or online
    2. candidates send application form to the Judicial Appointments Commission
    3. the Commission checks the candidate’s eligibility and makes assessment of the good character of the candidate
    4. candidates may be asked to attend a selection day which consists of role-plays and an interview
  • there are 5 main qualities required for judicial office:
    1. intellectual capacity and an appropriate knowledge of the law
    2. personal qualities (e. g. independence of mind, sound judgement)
    3. ability to treat everyone with respect and sensitivity
    4. good communication skills
    5. efficiency (they are required to organize time effectively and produce reason judgements quickly in order to minimize the cost of the legal process)
Types of judges:
  • superior (appointed to sit in the High Court and the appeal courts) x inferior judges all other judges
  • full-time x part-time
  • Magistrates (= úředník se soudní pravomocí)
    • they’re not legal professionals and do not have substantial legal training
    • they’re members of the lay judiciary
  • District judges (= soudce okresního soudu)
    • they are responsible for most country court business
  • Circuit judges (= soudce obvodního soudu)
    • they carry out the majority of Crown court work
    • they sit in the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal (= trestní kolegium Nejvyššího odvolacího soudu)
    • they’re assisted by deputy circuit judges and recorders (= zapisovatel)
  • High Court Judges (= soudce vrchního soudu)
    • they hear the most serious types of Crown Court cases
    • Deputy High Court judges do the same work on a part-time basis
  • The Lord Justices of Appeal (= soudci Nejvyššího odvolacího soudu)
    • they sit permanently in the Court of Appeal
  • the judges of the Supreme Court of the UK are Justices of the Supreme Court and they’re also Privy Counsellors they’re granted the courtesy title Lord or Lady for life (= členové soukromé rady)


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