Hiring a Lawyer
What Can Legal.mu do for You?
The Lawyer you choose will advise you promptly, efficiently, and cost-effectively on your legal problem. You will be given information about the possible options and outcomes in your given circumstances. Your Barrister will act as your legal representative, working with you to resolve your legal issue.
Why choose a Lawyer?
Lawyers are often the best place to start when you have a pressing legal issue because they’re:
- Specialist: Lawyers are specialist legal advisers and courtroom advocates. They are independent, objective and trained to advise clients on the strengths and weaknesses of their case. They specialise in particular areas of the law and deal with cases like yours every day.
- Practical: They are focused on rapid action, whether in court or when giving competent advice in time-critical situations. Many lawyers offer a free initial consultation to consider the suitability of a case.
- Good value for money: A lawyer will often work on the basis of a fixed fee, helping you maintain closer control over your spending on legal costs. You can save money by managing your case whilst still benefiting from specialist advice.
- Fast and straightforward: You’ll feel the energy and see progress happening fast when you use a lawyer. They respond quickly and also explain issues and the law clearly.
Instructing a Barrister
Try to clarify the nature of your problem and what you want the barrister to do. Telephone the secretary of the set of Chambers where the barrister works and tell them that you wish to instruct the barrister directly, and they will tell you what to do next.
If the barrister is a sole practitioner, i.e. is not a member of a set of Chambers, you can contact the Barrister directly. You will have to explain the nature of the work you want the barrister to undertake for you. The barrister will decide on the most appropriate option for you both to meet and determine the best way forward.
Proof of your identity
In some circumstances, the barrister will be required by law to carry out specific identification procedures. These must be followed as soon as reasonably practicable after you have first made contact with the barrister, and it is likely that this will happen after you complete the initial contact described above whether these procedures apply and, if so, how they should be followed need to be considered by the barrister when you first make contact.
How will I be charged?
Barristers usually charge according to their level of experience, the complexity of the case and the length of time involved in dealing with it. At this early stage, it is essential to agree on the payable fee and that the terms of the agreement are clear to both you and the barrister.
There are no formal scales of fees for barristers’ work. The amount for any particular piece of work, and when the fee becomes payable, is a matter for negotiation between you and the barrister.
If you agree to a fee in advance of the work being done, the barrister may require that the fee be paid before carrying out the work. Where a fee is not fixed in advance, and the work involves the production of paperwork (for example, the drafting of a contract), the barrister may nevertheless require you to pay for the work after they have completed it and before releasing it to you. Such arrangements should be agreed upon between you and your chosen barrister at the outset.
The barrister must keep sufficient records to justify the fees they are charging. You are entitled to ask for details to justify the fee that you are being charged.
Barristers are experts in the law. Barristers can advise, draft documents and represent you in court, tribunals or mediations. Barristers can negotiate and attend meetings on your behalf. In some cases, you may need to retain the services of an attorney who will instruct a Barrister.
If you wish to instruct a barrister to advise you, represent you or otherwise act on your behalf, you will need to agree to their fee before retaining their services. Barristers’ fees vary and can depend on the seniority of the barrister, the complexity of your case and your barrister’s assessment of how much work is involved. Your barrister will either propose a fixed fee for specific work or a flexible fee based on their hourly rate, which means that the total cost will depend on how many hours they work on your behalf.
You can agree on the fee directly with your barrister.
The difference between the services offered by a barrister and an attorney
Barristers specialise in providing expert legal advice, advocacy in court, and document drafting. Attorneys typically advise and prepare documents (plaints, affidavits etc.) on behalf of their clients.
Your barrister will advise you if they consider that anything you want to be done is only a service that an attorney can provide.
The following are some examples of work that a barrister can do:
- A barrister may appear on your behalf at court.
- A barrister may give you legal advice.
- A barrister may draft legal documents for you.
- A barrister may advise you on the proper steps which need to be taken in proceedings before a court or other organisation and draft legal documents for use in those proceedings.
- A barrister may draft and send letters on your behalf.
- A barrister may represent you before law enforcement institutions such as (Police Stations, Anti Drug and Smuggling Unit (ADSU), Central Investigation Division (CID), Major Crime and Investigation Team (MCIT), Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
Confidentiality and Compulsory Disclosure of information and Complaints
Your barrister is under a strict professional duty to keep your affairs confidential. This legal professional privilege protects your communications with your barrister from disclosure. The only exception is that any lawyer, for example, a barrister or an attorney, may be required by law to disclose information to governmental or other regulatory authorities and to do so without first obtaining your consent to such disclosure or telling you that they have made it.
If you have a complaint about your barrister, then in the first instance, you should try to address the complaint directly to your barrister.
Suppose you are not satisfied with the handling or outcome of your complaint by your barrister or their Chambers. In that case, you can contact the Mauritius Bar Association, which is an independent and professional body that deals, among other things, with complaints about the service provided by all types of barristers in Mauritius. Mauritius Bar Association can decide whether or not the service you received from your barrister was satisfactory, and can:
- Conduct an enquiry
- Take the necessary steps required
The Mauritius Bar Association can give you more detailed information on making a complaint. You can contact the Mauritius Bar Association:
By phone: (230) 213-9130
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
By post: 4th floor, Court View Building,
Pope Hennessy Street,
Port Louis – Mauritius
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