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All for one or one for all?

Jeremy Robson analyses the threat to consumers and the profession as the distinction between barristers and solicitors remains unclear

15 March 2016

For the litigant in 13th-century England, managing one's legal matters was a tricky affair. The courts were itinerant, following the King around the country, and for those who did
manage to gain an audience, proceedings were conducted in French.

Those who sought redress in the court of the King could employ two different professionals: the 'forespeaker', who could speak on his client's behalf, and the 'procurator', who acted as an agent and could enter his client into binding agreements.

As these two professions progressed alongside one another, each role remained distinct while their specialist skills were refined and enhanced. Although some offspring of these professions, such as 'the Serjeant at Law', flourished and then died, for many years their functions remained alive in the respective roles of 'barrister' and 'solicitor', each offering a unique service to ...

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