Consumers must know more about the law and lawyers

Beauchamp: Legal businesses to educate people on how the law works

Most people know very little about how the law works in the UK, research has found, with 44% admitting that they did not know the difference between a solicitor, lawyer or barrister.

The survey of 2,000 people commissioned by Slater & Gordon also highlighted huge gaps around both criminal and civil law.

A third were not sure on the difference between criminal and civil courts, while 22% thought you had to have a master’s degree in law to be a magistrate.

The findings come at a time when there is a growing focus on the need for public legal education.

When it came to legal terminology, one in ten people thought probate was the same as probation, with 23% thinking the term ‘silk’ simply related to the wigs that barristers and judges wear.

Martyn Beauchamp, Slater & Gordon’s chief customer officer, said: “There have been studies in the past around how intimidating people can find the legal process but we wanted to find out why people felt that way…

“What this research shows is that there is a need for legal businesses to educate people on how the law works and make them understand the law is there to protect them in their time of need.”

One in ten people (12%) thought the same solicitor could represent both parties in a divorce settlement to cut down on costs and 26% believed that solicitors were experts in all areas of the law.

Nearly half of those surveyed (44%) thought that, if they did not have a will, their money would just go to the “closest person” to them and 41% thought you had to pay money to be granted bail.

A fifth of people (18%) admitted they had no knowledge about the law with over one in ten (14%) saying what they knew came from crime shows on TV.

Slater & Gordon commissioned the research to mark the launch of a new podcast called The Case Files.

Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


How could instant messaging transform your law firm?

The vast majority of law firms have no instant messaging capability. In what other sector is that the case? Most stick to traditional communications channels. In 2021 there’s no good reason for that.

From cost saving to revenue making – post-pandemic commercial success

Commercial success is the driving force for ambitious law firms and it should come as no surprise that many have a renewed determination to re-evaluate their businesses in the wake of Covid-19.

Success in-house – what people don’t tell you about how to get there

TV dramas have made many people think that the legal profession consists of heroes (or villains) in high-flying firms or public prosecution. In reality, nearly a quarter of solicitors work in-house.

Loading animation