Dealing with bankruptcy or an IVA can be a very traumatic experience and can get very tricky to get the details right. If you get something wrong, you can quickly cause yourself huge problems and end up losing thousands of pounds if it is dealt with in the wrong way. For this reason, it is very important that you employ a lawyer to sort out the fine details so that they are in your very best interests.
However, you think lawyer, you think expensive. Ordinarily, you may be right, because lawyers are traditionally very expensive and time consuming to deal with. In this case, you cannot afford not to find a good lawyer. Here's why;
There are specific laws in the UK, and indeed the rest of the world, as much of the world's law is based on English law. These laws are there to protect in many ways citizens from unfair contracts, unfair judgements and procedures with creditors and other service providers. One of the most well-known examples is PPI. For those not familiar with PPI, in a nutshell it was a payment protection insurance, which many lenders said it was a 'requirement' for taking out the loan, but this was later deemed to be unfair. Banks have since been paying out millions of pounds in compensation for customers that have been unfairly charged. There are many more laws like this that are less well-known, however you need a good lawyer to seek them out for your particular case.
Understanding lawyers, the types of lawyers and their specialities are just as important as having one on board in the first place. It goes without saying that having a bad lawyer on board can end up costing you too much, and not actually helping your situation. Firstly, it is important to understand the two types of lawyer you can choose from, and it is a choice after all, so choose carefully.
First of all, the UK legal sector is split mainly into two similar professions, but with very important differences. The two types are barristers, and solicitors. Generally, solicitors deal with procedural steps in any process, which includes documents, forms, applications, and general advice regarding your position in the matter. Barristers on the other hand are less paper-based, and specialise in a highly focused advice and advocacy service. A QC is a barrister who has been appointed officially as "Queens Counsel" for being particularly recognised in their field. This means they are always the best person to speak out for you, in a legal framework to get you the best chance of being in a winning position.
Historically, you would have been required to appoint a solicitor first, who would then instruct a barrister on your behalf. In recent years however, the governing body - the Bar Council - set down rules and permissions for barristers to train and qualify to give advice direct to clients on what was setup as Public Access.
When dealing with debt, IVAs and bankruptcy, you can save a huge amount of money by finding a direct access barrister to represent you, and provide you the specific advice you need regarding your situation. Going through a solicitor will not only cost you almost twice as much, but it will take just as much time, and actually give you less choice in the barrister because they will almost always have their preferred choice of barrister which will usually be one they have worked with a great deal in the past. When going to a barrister directly, you have the choice of around the 11,000 barristers in the UK, and can even choose one of the 1,300 or so QCs that are available, providing they are direct access trained.
How to instruct a barrister to help deal with your debt / bankruptcy issues
Barristers are all self-employed and either operate as a sole practitioner, or as part of a 'set' officially referred to as Chambers. You can think of Chambers as an office which provides meeting rooms, access to law reference and also to book and arrange appointments with clients. Instructing a barrister directly is surprisingly easy; you can simply call one of the many Chambers around the UK and request a list of barristers that would be suitable for dealing with your debt issue, and one that is of course public / direct access trained. He or she will then decide whether to take your case, and the issue you a client care letter, and proceed with your advice / hearing.
You won't be disappointed with the service, as barristers are noted as the highest level profession in the UK.
Daniel J ShenSmith