Illegal to be a lawyer?

Hello,
IANAL
Present company excepted, I have noticed that most people are uneducated in respect of their rights. I would like to exploit this with a business where I would charge to provide the sort of information you'd normally go to a solicitor or the CAB for, but really you should know for free.
I can't tell you my idea in detail, but to use a current topic, it would be like me charging £140 to advise 'separating common-law couples' what their legal rights are. I would prepare a report which briefly explains what they are entitled to. I would be a 'separation entitlement consultant'.
I might also advertise as a 'deposit reclamation company' and charge tenants 25% to provide them with the name of a solicitor who might claim their deposit back.
Alternatively, I might be a 'claim consultancy' and charge to help people fill in their small claims, or charge £100 to help with their data protection subject access requests or to advise on credit rating. The clients will be signing their own documents.
I will employ devious smallprint and screw clients wherever possible. I will charge OTT prices for everything, but promise nothing and return nothing more than a small compilation of free information. If I bail I'll refer clients to a solicitor.
Notwithstanding morals, and the (usually) superior quality of a solicitor's advice, what are the legalities please. What is it that only lawyers can do?
many thanks in advance for your comments.
John Smith
Reply to
Flyby Night
In message , Flyby Night writes
The Solicitors Act 1974 provides the answers. The types of work you cannot charge for are "reserved work".
The main points are:
Conveyancing, although licensed conveyancers can also provide these services Apply for a grant of probate Go on the record at Court as acting for someone in litigation and appear for them in Court.
From the end of this year, you might have to deal with the outcome of the Clementi review on the regulation of legal services.
Reply to
Richard Miller
wrote:
I recently had a Deputy District Judge warn me that I could go to prison for two years if I brought an action and acted as a LIP as he said I was acting as a solicitor. He said that the chap I had sent to a solicitor form help could have believed that I was a solicitor. Later I got a long two page letter from the opposing sides solicitors saying that if I was acting as a solicitor I could be jailed for two years. An e-mail of complaint to the senior partner of the firm Gotelee of Ipswich went unanswered. smicker 12 noon Friday.
Reply to
smicker
In message , smicker writes
Whilst on what I have heard in the past I think the accusation was unjustified in your case, it does demonstrate how serious the penalties can be for holding yourself out as a solicitor or undertaking reserved work when you do not have the qualifications.
Reply to
Richard Miller
wrote:
I have not heard of any recent cases of anyone being prosecuted for holding themselves out as a solicitor. Does anyone know differently? What about holding oneself out as a barrister?
As I understand the OP, he only intended to offer legal information and act as a "lay representative" where this is allowed.
In the Bible, we read of "scribes" and in Spain they have a chap called a "Gestor" who will help people fill in forms, write letters etc for a fee. Perhaps this is what Flyby Night has in mind.
Reply to
Alasdair Baxter
wrote:
That is the kind of thing I have in mind. I might write letters on clients' behalf, fill in forms for clients to sign, or just sound authoritative (where possible). My main business is on a related topic for which I am qualified, but this new idea would be branching into a specific legal topic which I may not be strictly qualified in but which I probably know as well as any lawyer. Like I say, it's all stuff you could get yourself for free or a fixed price/risk if you have the time. I've already given some examples.
Although there is some representation, this would not extend to the 'restricted' activities mentioned so far (I've haven't read the solicitors act yet). I have no interest in describing myself as a solicitor, representing anyone in court, or conveyancing. I want as little responsibility as possible for other people's consequences.
I might however describe my services as 'legal advice' or similar.
Does anyone know if it's wrong to give financial advice, or debt counselling? Can I call myself 'Debt Recovery Bailiffs Advice Inc' and advise people how to get a bailiff?
I will search for this Gestor chap..
Reply to
Flyby Night
wrote:
My bit of advice would be to get some professional indemnity insurance before you give any advice. If you get it wrong, you could be sued for very substantial damages especially if one of your clients in acting on your advice loses lots of money.
If you take out an "All Categories" Consumer Credit Licence (cost circa £70), you automatically become licensed to act as a debt counsellor and a debt adjuster not to mention a credit reference agency. You don't need any academic or professional qualifications for this, only to be a "fit and proper person".
Financial advice is a bit more tricky as it's regulated by the Financial Services Authority and I think you need to pass exams etc to qualify.
"Inc" is the American equivalent of "Ltd" or Plc" in this country. I wouldn't use it if I were you.
Why not set up a shop with the title "Scribe" above the door? It's surprising the number of people around who have literacy and numeracy problems and find things like writing letters to officialdom or filling out forms an impossible chore. I have in mind particularly people whose native language is not English (like me) and those who have missed out on our fine education system for whatever reason.
The Citizens' Advice Bureau is very good but you can sit on the phone all day waiting to get a gap in their engaged tone. If you manage to get hold of their advice manual, it's worth its weight in gold and most public libraries have it.
Reply to
Alasdair Baxter
wrote:
Thanks for the advice.
I find the lack of qualifications slightly disturbing.
Sole trader - £110 Partnership, limited company or other organisations - £275
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The OFT mention that trading without such a licence could be illegal, but don't state the law/offence. Is it all under the 1974 CCA ?
Can someone explain how the definition of 'financial advice' differs from debt advice, debt management, credit brokerage, credit reference, consumer credit, credit repair, and non-status lending?
Can you point to the law which prevents giving 'financial advice'
There is indeed a gap in the market (education, unhelpful officialdom, expensive lawyers, and lack of state provision) here. I'm aware that this advice is usually free e.g. from the library/CAB or free initial interview, but that's capitalism for you.
I'm not sure if 'scribe' translates to the 21st century. Maybe something like 'official documentation advice centre'.
Is there anything preventing the use of 'official' in a name like this?
The CAB are good, but should have a bigger budget.
Reply to
Flyby Night

I'm sure someone in uk.finance will know (from uk.legal.moderated)
Can someone explain how the definition of 'financial advice' differs from debt advice, debt management, credit brokerage, credit reference, consumer credit, credit repair, and non-status lending?
Can you point to the law which prevents giving 'financial advice'
Reply to
Flyby Night

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