chapter  7
18 Pages

Funding

The lack of knowledge is not only of the law and legal system, but also of where the nearest solicitor is located and which solicitor specialises in the law involved in the particular problem. The second problem is that many people have a fear of dealing with lawyers. Clients may feel intimidated through fear of the unknown. The final difficulty of cost arises because solicitors charge from about £100 an hour for routine advice from a legal executive in a small local firm to over £600 an hour for work done by a top city firm of solicitors in a specialist field. If the matter can be resolved with just one hour’s advice, then the cost is not too great for most people. However, many matters are complicated and will take several hours of work. The cost can quickly run into several thousand pounds. Where a person cannot get the help they need, it is said that they are being denied access to justice. Access to justice involves both an open system of justice and also

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G being able to fund the costs of a case. There have been various schemes aimed at making the law more accessible to everyone. For example, the national network of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux was started in 1938 and now operates in most towns. More recently, the Law Society relaxed rules so that solicitors are allowed to advertise and inform the public of the areas of law in which they specialise. And in the last few years the government has provided an online information service. This gives information on the solicitors available in different areas of the country. However, the problem of cost still remains a major hurdle. A judge, Mr Justice Darling, once said:

‘The law courts of England are open to all men like the doors of the Ritz hotel.’