The Law Society has published guidance for solicitors to help them meet the needs of vulnerable clients. This includes clients with a range of physical and learning disabilities, and mental health problems.
The practice note on vulnerable clients has been issued in response to calls for support from law firms and other significant partners, including Mencap. Using case scenarios, the guidance aims to help solicitors to:
• identify vulnerable clients and their needs at an early stage;
• communicate with them more effectively;
• work with third parties, including advocates and carers; and
• help clients to achieve the best possible legal outcomes.
The guidance uses the term ‘vulnerable’ to describe a range of situations which could place a client at a disadvantage in accessing legal services, and focuses on:
• clients who have capacity to make decisions and provide instructions, but who require support to use a solicitor’s services and give instructions;
• clients who lack mental capacity to make decisions for whom a range of statutory and other safeguards must be followed; and
• clients who are vulnerable to undue influence or duress.
The guidance for solicitors is supplemented by an easy read guide for clients, supporting them to access solicitors more easily. Both the practice note and the guide can be accessed via the link below.