Getting a solicitor to take on your case is sometimes called “instructing a solicitor” or a solicitor “taking your instructions”. 

You can usually have your own lawyer if you are 12 or over. Children as young as 8 can have their own lawyers. These are not strict rules. You will usually be able to instruct a solicitor as long as the solicitor thinks that you understand what a solicitor does and you understand the problem you need help with. This is called “having capacity to instruct a solicitor”.  It will be up to the solicitor to decide whether or not you have capacity to instruct them.

When you instruct a solicitor you have to give them full details of what has been happening and what you want them to do to sort things out. They will give you information and advice so that you can decide what you want them to do to solve the problem. The solicitor will not tell you what to do or decide what to do in your case. It’s important that you stay in contact with your solicitor and keep them up to date with what is happening and what you are thinking.