Category Archives: professional responsibility

What if I know that my client is guilty?

Surprisingly, I get this question every so often from people who meet me and know I am a lawyer, including clients (but not criminal law clients). It’s an interesting question because it involves resolving conflicts between my duties to the client and my duties to the court. As this article will demonstrate, the answer is not a simple one.
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Filed under criminal law, professional responsibility

Why are lawyers so expensive?

Many complaints about lawyers concern how high their legal fees are. The professional fees charged by lawyers are notorious. When many clients earn an average of $20-40 per hour, it can seem unfair that your lawyers charge you hundreds of dollars per hour. However, as this article will demonstrate, there are reasons why legal fees are so high. 
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Filed under advice for clients, professional responsibility

When the Solicitor-Barrister relationship turns sour

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There are many aspects to the solicitor-barrister relationship. In some ways the relationship is symbiotic: solicitors need barristers when a case requires specialist advice or is going to trial, and barristers need solicitors to refer work to them. It is certainly in the interests of solicitors to have good relations with at least some barristers and vice versa. However, many (but not all) barristers consider themselves to be the more senior arm of the profession, to the chagrin of solicitors.

When a barrister is instructed by the solicitor, the two act as a team in preparing for and presenting the client’s case. The solicitor’s role is to obtain the client’s instructions, sort the facts in a digestible format for the barrister and to gather the relevant information and evidence in preparation for hearing. The barrister on the other hand provides advice and performs the advocacy work in court. When the solicitor and barrister work well together, that is to the benefit of the client, whose chances of a favourable outcome are increased.

However, two recent Discipline Applications brought against solicitors in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) show that disputes can arise between solicitors and barristers that can have serious consequences for the legal practitioner found to have acted unethically.
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Filed under professional responsibility