Giving Legal Advice


An adviser’s handbook

Second Edition

By Elaine Heslop

Legal Action Group

ISBN: 978 1 908407 43 6


An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

The Legal Action Group (LAG) — the access to justice charity — has just published another indispensable reference book which litigants and their advisers, not to mention lawyers, will love — especially those with clients who can’t quite meet the costs involved in going to law.

‘Giving Legal Advice’ is the plain-speaking title of this plain-speaking work of reference now in a new second edition.

Its publication is particularly timely in view of the widespread decrease in legal aid and the corresponding increase in litigants in person — litigants appearing unrepresented in court, that is — and not necessarily knowing much about what to do, or how to do it.

‘This second edition,’ explains the author Elaine Heslop, ‘aims to provide support and guidance to those ‘who continue to engage in the vital function of advice provision in order to give as many individuals as possible access to justice.’

The content of this new edition, therefore has been considerably revised and updated — and illustrative examples have been given whenever the law is referred to, especially in the areas of social welfare law, including small claims in the civil courts.

A quick trawl through the very useful table of contents will indicate that just about every conceivable issue or matter faced by litigants has been covered and explained in a succinct, yet detailed manner, from the court structure itself, to advice skills, to further advice specific to the litigant in person.

It should be emphasized that this is a particularly handy book for those who have never been to court before. Helpful documents and flow charts throughout aid navigation — and besides the listing of advice agencies — there is a useful index and four appendices, which include precedents, courses and training, a list of useful organisations and the exceptionally enlightening tract dated April 2013 from the Bar Council entitled ‘A Guide to Representing Yourself in Court’.

As for the courts themselves, there is plenty of advice for the unwary on dress and behaviour, plus numerous tips on the various practicalities. ‘Be ready with the case number… be prepared to put even the simplest request in writing… be firm but polite with court clerks’ and so forth. Also note that ‘courts and tribunals… are not particularly child friendly.’ You have been warned!

Suffice to say that reading this book will result in litigants and their advisers being better prepared, better informed and more confident in navigating legal processes and the legal system. As a thorough and readable guide to best practice for both advisers and clients, this book should be in every practitioner’s library.

The publication date is stated as at February 2014.

urgent legal advice

2 thoughts on “Giving Legal Advice”

  1. Many thanks for this review.

    Writing in June 2017, I wonder if this book remains a worthwhile purchase or has its content been superceded by changes in practice, rules, procedure etc.?


  2. So I am not from Canada but is it legal to give legal advice in a book without establishing an attorney client relationship or being libel from the outcome of that books advice?

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