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Rex Makin talks about how the rules regarding advertising law firms have charged; OPINION.

Byline: Rex Makin

WHEN I was admitted as a solicitor, the rules were simple.

There was no advertising, you were not permitted to do anything to unfairly attract business and only allowed to share profit charges with a solicitor.

One by one, each restriction and instruction has been stripped and we now have advertising on the most enormous scale. One of the last to go was sharing of costs, officially known as "referrals", but colloquially known as "back-handers".

Substantial firms have created themselves on the basis of mail-order advertising.

Some clients never see a solicitor's office and are dealt with on the basis of communications with firms and outfits they never see, and sometimes may find it difficult to understand. These solicitors are largely not funded out of their own resources.

The subject of abolishing these "referrals" has been raised in the LawSociety, but attempts to abolish them have not succeeded.

Now the Solicitors' Regulatory Authority is looking at the situation, particularly in regard to the Beresford case, where solicitors have been struck off regarding compensations for miners, and where other solicitors are being investigated and are the subject of disciplinary proceedings. This aspect of globalisation is far from welcomed by most practitioners, and the minority who pursue this need curtailing.

REX MAKIN is senior partner at Liverpool firm Rex Makin &Co.


Rex Makin
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 6, 2009
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