It is risky to use non-lawyers for legal advice.

There are quite a few commercial firms run by non lawyers offering a professional service to assist landlords with legal issues like possession proceedings.  

These are often run by people without professional qualifications. They are often without insurance and always lack a professional body supervising professional competence and good standards.

If they are not real lawyers they are also not allowed to conduct litigation which means that they generally cannot sign court documents on behalf of their clients/victims and can not sign a declaration of truth ( as required on court  claim forms). If non lawyers conduct litigation the claim may be struck out, even if by some fluke the charlatans have not made any other errors

Instructing a real lawyer to attend subsequent hearings will not fix these problems.

Two recent cases involving disasters created by such oganisations have featured the following organisations “Remove a Tenant” and  “Landlord Advice UK”. The long and the short of both cases is that what could have been dealt with quickly by real lawyers turned into an expensive slow motion car crash for the clients.

Landlord Advice described itself on it’s website as  an independent paralegal law firm.

One way to make sure you have a real lawyer is to look out for these words.  “Solicitor”, “Barrister” “Chartered Legal Executive”. These are protected titles and refer to lawyers who have actually been to college, passed professional exams and then undergone training on the job.

If the organisation offering to assist uses these phrases: “McKenzie friend”, “lawyer”, “paralegal” “legal-executive” (without using the word chartered), then they are not real lawyers and you should avoid them.  Very low fees will likely be offered but then again there is a well known saying about peanuts and monkeys.

The two cases referred to above are

Ojo & Opaleye v McAuliffe, County Court at Bromley 6 February 2019; and

Kassam v Gill & Gill (13th August 2018, County Court at Birmingham).

Acknowledgements to GIles Peaker at for some of the content and the case details  above.

Courtyard Solicitors are real solicitors and are experts in property law

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