The role of a litigation solicitor can be wide and varied; whilst one day they could be dealing with a probate dispute, the next they could be fighting for the protection of a contract.
However, there are two different types of litigation solicitor; Criminal Litigation and Civil Litigation. ‘Criminal’ relates to matter such as applications for bail whereas ‘Civil’ regards any dispute within a business.
Criminal Litigation – The main difference between the laws of criminal and civil can be found when it comes to ‘burden of proof’. This means, what has to be proven in order for one party or another to be found guilty; in criminal law this is ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ but in civil law it is ‘balance of probabilities’. This ultimately means that criminal cases are somewhat harder to prove as the defendant has to be found guilt beyond reasonable doubt. If this does not happen, the conviction will fail.
Many criminal litigation solicitors often have to make a decision as to what direction they want to go and there are advantages to both; a ‘specialist’ deals with one particular area whereas a ‘general practitioner’ offers services on a much broader spectrum including theft, fraud, etc. On the whole, solicitors generally choose to focus their attentions in more than one area and few actually spread their time between criminal and civil law.
Civil Litigation – This type of solicitor deals with civil matters such as the falling out of two business partners; someone in an organisation may feel as though they are owed a certain amount of compensate and it would be the solicitor’s job to prove them right or wrong. Civil litigation can split off into a number of different sub-sections which is why many choose to hone their talents further and become experts in one particular area such as business partnerships or commercial litigation. There are still some who choose to cover a wider spectrum but these are generally smaller firms with little reputation who need a bigger client base.
Civil litigation doesn’t only deal with problems within the business though, it covers many areas such as employment issues, insurance, commercial, disputes over properties, professional negligence, and more, which is why there is a good opportunity for solicitors to become specially trained in one particular area.
Ultimately, the role of a solicitor is to represent its clients to the best of their ability by keeping their best interests in mind throughout the process. If someone has requested a solicitor, it means that they need help in a legal matter which sees them place a certain level of trust in them to help win the case. This has to be done to a high standard regardless of what area the solicitor specialises in.
Hadaway & Hadaway are Solicitors in the North East of the UK.