Legal Advice – The Barrister’s Opinion
The legal advice our lawyers give you is usall based on a reading of the case papers, a meeting with the client to discuss the history of the case and the desired outcome. Our barristers will advise you on the law, the strengths and weaknesses of your case, the prospects of success, and the impact of winning or losing the case on the issue of awards of costs and compensation, where relevant.
A number of our clients come to us for a second opinion, where advice has not been favourable or our client has lost confidence in those who have previously advised them. We advise in all cases in strict confidence and can put legal advice in writing where necessary.
Our barristers may advise that a client would be better off taking certain steps or pulling out of a case where the risks of losing on the substantive matter or on costs are high. The ultimate decision of course is for our clients to take. So long as a case is ethical and arguable a barrister may run any case, pursuant to regulations that govern barristers’ conduct as laid down by the Bar Standards Board (the regulator of barristers in England and Wales).
Sometimes a barrister will state that the prospects are difficult to assess and that more information or evidence is needed before an opinion can be given. On occasions, new evidence may wholly undermine a case or alternatively provide strong support for a contention.
Your barrister will draw on their own experience and may draw on other barristers’ experiences in order to come to an opinion. Your barrister will undertake any necessary legal research in order to come to an opinion. Your barrister will look at case law and statute, as well as policies, guidance, and protocols, when considering a particular issue.
You can help your barrister in their work and reduce the amount of reading and research time (and therefore the billable time spent on your case) by providing as many relevant documents as possible. A barrister should not be given just the documents that a client considers central, as other documents may have a bearing on the case that the client has not considered.
Ultimately, a barrister is giving a considered opinion on the information and evidence before them. If a client fails to give full disclosure to the barrister, in the hope of saving costs, the long-term consequences might be grave, in that, a weak case might be run or a strong one might be pulled, because the client has been selective in their disclosure and the barrister is ill-briefed.
It is therefore essential that our clients give our barristers full disclosure of documents and information, so that the barristers can do their jobs well.